Men who self-harm—A scoping review of a complex phenomenon
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Advanced Nursing. 2021, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.15132
Background: To understand and care for men who self-harm, it is important that healthcare professionals have understanding of how and why men self-harm, men's experiences of self-harm and what can be done to hinder or prevent self-harm. Aims: The aim of this study was to synthesize the existing knowledge on men who self-harm, with a special emphasis on background, self-harming methods, experiences and reported therapeutic interventions and/or care approaches. Design: Scoping review of internationally published and grey literature, based on a methodological framework by Arksey and O’Malley. Data sources: Systematic electronic database searches were conducted in CINAHL, MEDLINE (Ovid) and PsycINFO. From a total of 684 studies found, 24 studies met the inclusion criteria: full-text, published in English, peer-reviewed studies and grey literature including a focus on men who self-harm, men aged between 18 and 65 years, and published between 2010 and 2019. Results: Men's self-harm was understood as being related to mental disorders, a means of affect regulation, a loss of self-control, and a means of interpersonal communication. Self-harm can be a positive or negative experience, and there is a wide variety in the methods that men use to self-harm: sharp objects, injection, ingestion, without aids or riskful behaviour. Few studies reported on therapeutic interventions and/or care approaches for men who self-harm. Conclusion: Men's self-harm should be understood as a complex, socially and culturally conditioned phenomenon and studied from a multitude of perspectives. Impact: This scoping review concludes that self-harm among men should be understood as a complex, socially and culturally conditioned phenomenon. To empower men and support their recovery from self-harm, a person-centred approach should be incorporated into research on the subject and practice.