*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Saturday, March 7 • 3:45pm - 5:00pm
The Role of Social Support in Online Groups for Young Adults Who Engage in Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

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This paper will discuss how social support operates within online self-injury groups for young adults. Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is described as direct and deliberate destruction of one’s own body (e.g. cutting or burning oneself) in the absence of suicidal intent (Nock & Favazza, 2009) and for reasons not socially or culturally sanctioned (such as piercing or tattooing). The behavior is often preceded by emotional distress and followed by a subjective sense of relief, so it can be conceived of as a coping mechanism. While early research and popular media have stereotypically linked NSSI to Caucasian females only, it is prevalent across genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses (Klonsky, 2011). This makes accessing these diverse voices imperative to understanding this behavior. This paper will also discuss the stigma surrounding NSSI, something very familiar to those who self-injure. Because of the likelihood of encountering stigmatization, many have turned to the Internet as a safe, anonymous place to talk about their struggles with self-injury and gain social support from similar others (Lewis et al., 2012). This phenomenological research aims to understand how social support operates within online self-injury groups and whether this support is perceived to affect the frequency of users’ self-injury. Participants were ten young adults (ages 18-25) of all genders to ensure the voices of non-gender-conforming individuals could be heard. This research utilized a qualitative questionnaire distributed via email exchange with participants. Data has been collected and is currently under analysis by methods of constant comparison and content analysis. It is my hope that this research will enhance the understanding of how online groups may play a role in supporting young adults who self-injure in their recovery.

Saturday March 7, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm PST