Skin-cutting : the non-suicidal self-mutilatory behavior of the secondary school students in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Skin-cutting : the non-suicidal self-mutilatory behavior of the secondary school students in Hong Kong

 

Author: Chim, Ki-wing
Title: Skin-cutting : the non-suicidal self-mutilatory behavior of the secondary school students in Hong Kong
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1998
Subject: High school students -- China -- Hong Kong -- Attitudes
High school students -- China -- Hong Kong -- Conduct of life
Self-mutilation -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iii, 112 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1446541
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/15
Abstract: The skin-cutting behavior had been increasingly common among adolescents in Hong Kong in recent years. While the behavior was not related to the suicidal tendency, it stimulated the concern of the general problem and alarmed the helping professional. The study aimed at exploring the reasons and meanings of the skin-cutting behavior so that recommendation in helping students with skin-cutting behavior or related self-harm behaviors can be made. The study adopted a qualitative approach that semi-structured and in-depth interviews were use to investigate into the phenomina. Five secondary school students with skin-cutting behavior had been interviewed. During the interviews, the factors contributing to the skin-cutting behavior, its perceived meanings and the termination of the behavior were explored. It was found that interpersonal relationship from family, peers and opposite sex peers was the most important background factors affecting the behavior. Further two types of factors were contributing to the skin-cutting behavior: the triggering events and the perceptual and personality factors. The triggering events included the push and pull factors caused from interpersonal relationship. The perceptual and personality factor included the contagion influence of the peers, the pre-conception and norms among the peers of the informants, the personal impulsivity, problems of communication and problem solving ability and the functions of the skin-cutting behavior. Emotional release and communicative purpose were the major meaning for the skin-cutting behavior. Informants were found to be unable to cope with their emotional disturbance and the behavior was found to be one of the methods to help releasing their unhappy feelings. Besides, skin-cutting behavior had communicative purpose that the informants had made use of the behavior to prove the closeness of relationship with their significant others and to express their feelings or thought towards the problems they met. Interpersonal and emotional support were found to be great motivator for the informants to quit the habitual skin-cutting. Other factors that may help terminating the skin-cutting behavior included cognitive change towards the behavior and the generation of alternatives. However, the impulsivity of informants had hindered the termination process and relapse is common among the skin-cutters. The findings of this study had importance for social work practice. Firstly, preventive measures focused on the needs of the adolescents in communication, problem solving and emotional control were suggested. Secondly, special attention on the immediate feeling after the problems, the solution of problems and the impulsive reactive cycle for the skin-cutting behavior had also been recommended. Besides, further research about the other self-harm behavior and collaborative research from different professionals such as teachers and social workers were encouraged.

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