Assessing Protective Factors for Self-harm: Development of the Barriers to Self-harm Inventory

Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is the deliberate, direct destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent. Common forms of DSH include cutting, burning or hitting oneself and, not surprisingly, it is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes. DSH often begins in adolescence. Without treatment it can persist for several years and decades. Although promising treatments exist, studies indicate that many individuals in treatment fail to reduce their DHS behaviours. To date, few studies have examined factors that directly prevent someone from engaging in DSH, either over the short- or long-term. Brianna Turner’s research is focusing on factors that directly prevent DSH, as well as the development of a novel psychometric measure that can be used easily within busy health care settings to assess protective barriers against DSH and predict future DSH. These are novel research directions that fit within two larger investigational projects underway that looking at the emotional, individual and environmental factors that predict changes related to self harm. Additionally, and importantly, the results of this study have the potential to improve the quality of care and health outcomes for individuals who engage in deliberate self-harm.