The autobiographical construction of self-harm: a discourse-analytic study of adolescent narratives
The present study investigated the discursive construction of adolescent self-harm, including cutting. A review of available literature highlighted limitations and provided a warrant for the use of a social-constructionist orientation. Twenty-five Internet-based narratives written about adolescent self-harm were analyzed using the methodology of discourse analysis. Narrators used various discursive resources to mitigate their responsibility for engaging in a behaviour that is not socially accepted and is treated by others as under an individual's will to prevent. Additionally, narrators were found to draw upon features and functions of the behaviour discussed in the academic and clinical literatures. Such findings enhance our current understanding of self-injury and how discourse is used to manage moral problems.