Brief Report

The Experiences of Self-Injury Amongst Adolescents and Young Adults within a South African Context

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 22, issue 2, 2012 , pages: 263–268
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2012.10820528
Author(s): Cithra BheamaduUniversity of Johannesburg,, Elzette FritzUniversity of Johannesburg,, Jace PillayUniversity of Johannesburg,


The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of self-injury among adolescents and young adults within the South African context. The participants were twelve university students who had self-injured in their adolescence (females = 92%). The data were collected through interviews, personal writings and collages and analysed using phenomenological data analysis. The findings indicate that self-injury is a strategy used to alleviate intense intrapersonal and interpersonal distress. To understand the complexity of self-injury, an integrative theoretical approach, encompassing a developmental and biopsychosocial perspective was used.

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