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Self-Harm in Adolescence

Iva Buresová

The author discusses the subject of self-harm in adolescence, considering the historical context of the development of its classification system. She presents an overview of theoretical fundamentals as well as models of behavior derived from them. Within the context of current research studies, she describes its prevalence, etiology, and comorbidity. The author specifies the basic protective and risk factors as well as all important influences. She presents the diagnostic tools currently used in research and clinical practice including the description of key approaches to prevention, therapy and treatment. This book includes the results of a unique research study mapping the lexical trace of the term self-harm in adolescents and the differences in perception of this term among those without own practice, with mediation and with personal, often repeated experience.
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5 Diagnostic Tools Used in Research and Clinical Practice

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5   Diagnostic Tools Used in Research and Clinical Practice

There are various reasons why mental health professionals and scientists might want to measure adolescent self-harm. The diagnostic tools, used in the developmental stage of adolescence to identify the prevalence of self-harm, its frequency or its forms in both clinical and research practice, are built upon a variety of methodological bases – most often upon tracing the occurrence and subsequent behaviour description. These tools include primarily self-assessment scales as well as scales based on which the behaviour is assessed by an individual close to or caring for the adolescent, a pedagogue, healthcare personnel,, a psychiatrist or a psychologist).

Most of these methods provide the respondents with a list of several most frequent forms of self-harm, and the respondent’s state if they have personally used any of the given options, or they can even add an option not offered on the given list (Latimer, Meade & Tennat, 2013). The occurrence of self-harm is commonly traced either for the period of the last year, the last 6 months, or the last month prior to gathering research or clinical data, or for the period of an individual’s lifetime (i.e. life-long prevalence). Within this framework, the methods focused on identifying self-harm also try to trace the frequency of occurrence of this behaviour and possibly also the forms of self-harm used by the respondents (e.g. cutting, burning, torturing oneself by thoughts of one’s own suffering etc.). Some methods also...

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