Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


What Prevents Self-Harm?

What Prevents Self-Harm?

World-first University of Otago study to also examine causes of gambling problems

Suicide, the leading cause of injury-related death in young adults in their early 20’s, is now claiming the lives of similar numbers in the 25 to 34 year old age group in New Zealand.

Newly-funded research, set to begin at the University of Otago’s Injury Prevention Unit, promises to yield important new data towards developing a national strategy of self-harm prevention, says principal investigator Dr Shyamala Nada-Raja.

“We know a great deal about what puts people more at risk, but this study aims to shed light on the positive elements that make it less likely that people will deliberately harm themselves,” she said.

There was growing evidence that both aspects worked together, she said, and the study would offer a more “comprehensive and meaningful picture” of how they interacted. “It will be easier to promote positive development when we know what the protective factors are and how they impact over time.”

The three year community-based longitudinal study, a world first, will work with information from a cohort of nearly 1,000 participants in their early 30’s in the well-known Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.

Using data from earlier research when participants were 26, the new results will reveal whether participants have continued or reduced any patterns of self-harm, and will identify factors that may help lessen the risk, such as spirituality, coping skills, having a sense of purpose in life and feeling connected to one's community.

The study will use a number of new approaches, including asking about self-harm irrespective of mental health status and inquiring about a wide range of self-harmful behaviours - even those without reported suicidal intent - as a way of dealing with emotional pain. These include self-hitting or bruising, self-biting and wounding, excessive exercise and denying a necessity, such as food, as forms of self-punishment.

Also new, is the move away from the traditional questioning of asking about suicidal intent first. “Often these actions are impulsive, and people don’t have a conscious suicidal intent. By asking participants about behaviour first, we believe it will help them to remember incidents and will also reduce the stigma of talking about them”, she said.

Separate project funding from the Problem Gambling Purchasing Agency will enable the research group to work with the same cohort to examine protective factors for gambling problems, also a world-first longitudinal study into the incidence and causes of gambling problems. “This group is now of an age where access to disposable income and exposure to gambling opportunities are both relatively high.”

Dr Nada-Raja will be assisted by University of Otago colleagues Professor John Langley (Director of the Injury Prevention Research Unit), Dr Keren Skegg (Psychological Medicine), Associate Professor Rob McGee (Preventive and Social Medicine), and international research and clinical experts, including Professor Alex Blaszczynski (Australia) and Professor Michael King (U.K.). Interviews with study participants are expected to begin in November and continue over about 16 months.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news