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Journal Article

Citation

Brain KL, Haines J, Williams CL. Arch. Suicide Res. 2002; 6(3): 199-210.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2002, International Academy of Suicide Research, Publisher Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)

DOI

10.1080/13811110214140

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Psychophysiological and psychological responses of frequent self-mutilation participants (more than five life time self-mutilative episodes, n=29) and an infrequent self-mutilation group (less than five life time events, n=14) to self-mutilation imagery were compared to determine whether the reinforcement processes associated with the act itself alter as self-mutilative behavior becomes habitual. Personalised guided imagery scripts depicting an actual episode of self-mutilation were presented in four stages: scene setting, approach, incident, and consequence. No differences in psychophysiological response to imagery between frequent and infrequent groups was evident. Some between group differences were demonstrated for psychological response. Results indicated that although psycho-physiological benefits of the behavior are evident from the first episode, self-mutilation initially is perceived as a frightening experience which is associated with limited psychological benefits. Psychological response to self-mutilation alters as the behavior becomes habitual. Further research regarding the specific purposes and mechanisms of the behavior is required to determine how discrete episodes of self-mutilation develop into a repetitive behavioral cycle.

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