Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Herbert Exum

Co-Major Professor

Carlos Zalaquett

Keywords

Adolescents, Family Systems, Parents, Self-Injurious Behavior, Self-Injury

Abstract

Research in the area of self-injurious behaviors and the family context is still emerging. The majority of research available is quantitative in nature. The limited qualitative research available in this area has been conducted outside of the United States. A collective case study was conducted with four parents with an adolescent that had been admitted to an inpatient psychiatric residential facility with a presenting problem of self-injurious behavior. The purpose of this study was to gain an in-depth, qualitative understanding of the parent perspective and comprehension of adolescent self-injurious behavior including the parents' ideas on how the parent-child relationship or other family relationships may have influenced the self-injury. With-in case and cross-case analyses were utilized from the collected data including field notes, interview scripts, member checking sessions, and medical record reviews. Themes identified using an inductive content analysis were discussed based on each primary interview question. Clinical implications included the importance of providing parental education, encouraging parent participation in therapy, treating self-injurious behavior from a trauma-informed perspective, and others were considered. Limitations of the present study, directions for the use of the present research, as well as implications for future research were reported.

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