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Adolescent Self Harm and Suicide
August 06, 2013
- Required Information
The increasing incidence of reports of young people presenting in accident and emergency departments as a result of intentionally harming themselves has resulted in a concomitant increase in interest in this problem among clinicians and other healthcare providers (Storey & Hurry, 2005). There has also been a growing recognition that the statistics of self-harming young people from tertiary healthcare facilities only represent a fraction of the true incidence of self-harm in young people today (Storey & Hurry, 2005). Although precise numbers are unavailable, researchers have estimated the annual rates for acts of deliberate self-harm among young people at between 2.4% and 24%, with one survey indicating an annual rate of 6.9% among 15- and 16-year-olds with lifetime prevalence in excess of 13% (Storey & Hurry, 2005). In this proposed study, a triangulation or ‘mixed’ research method will be used as a methodological framework for quantitatively studying prevalence and early detection of adolescent suicide and self-harm.
The term “self-harm” refers to inflicting pain on oneself through cutting or burning to relieve emotional pain or distress (Heath & Toste, 2008). In some cases, self-inflicted injuries involve cutting or burning the body or use of a weapon such as a knife, razor blades or box cutters (Peterson, Freedenthal & Coles, 2013). A failed suicide attempt can be mistaken for an attempt at self-harm and vice versa and this is the source of a great deal of confusion for healthcare professionals working with adolescents (Peterson et al., 2013). One reason that adolescents might be drawn toward self-harm behaviors is the emotional high that they appear to achieve from cutting or burning themselves. There is an almost immediate release of endorphins into the bloodstream and a pleasurable high is experienced that helps to replace the numbness and pain that some young people feel in their lives by providing an emotional release (Straus, 2006).
Professionals working with adolescents should be aware of signs that could indicate that a youth is engaging in these behaviors. These can include cuts or burn marks on the body or wearing long sleeve shirts in the summer and being reluctant to have a physical exam. Parents might also provide information that can lead the professional to seek more information such as peer groups that the youth is now associating with or finding items in the home or in the bedroom which could be used for cutting or burning. Such awareness is important because teenage mortality is a public health issue and a majority of these deaths are preventable. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among adolescents and it is believed that 14 to 24 percent of teenagers have engaged in acts of self-harm. Moreover, someone under the age of 24 years commits suicide every 2 hours in the United States, leaving behind families and communities that are left to wonder why these tragedies occur and what can be done to prevent them in the future.
- Appropriateness of Approach
As noted earlier, triangulation or ‘mixed’ research method will be used in this study as a methodological framework for quantitatively studying prevalence and early detection of adolescent suicide and self-harm. Ideally, the study will be a quantitative research study that intends to use both primary and secondary research methods (triangulation) to accomplish its purpose. As noted by Hawton, Saunders and O’Connor (2012), self-harm and suicide are significant sources of public health problems in our nation’s adolescents with self-harm statistics being high among teenagers and suicide rates being noted as the third most prevalent cause of death among American teenagers (NIH, 2008). The triangulation research design will help us in exploring self-harm and suicide and evaluate how nurses and other professionals can recognize signs of self-harm and interrupt a cycle that might lead to suicide; which is the purpose of this study. Hussein (2009) noted that triangulation is a concept that is defined as the application of several qualitative and quantitative techniques in studying a common phenomenon for the sole purpose of increasing the credibility and validity of the study. The primary research will be conducted by means of an online self-administered survey.
In regard to the appropriateness of the approach, researchers have always argued that a good research practice often involves the utilization of multiple methods in order to enhance both the validity and reliability the research findings as indicated in the work of (Mathison, 1988).The choice of triangulation as the appropriate research design is inspired by the fact that helps in achieving improved clarity, research completeness and validity as noted by Fielding and Fielding (1986). According to Knafle and Gallo (1995), triangulation technique contributes to the overall quality of a research ‘only to the extent that it facilitates the achievement of some clearly articulated purpose’ (cited in Adami and Kiger, 2005). The convenience of triangulation in nursing research for confirmatory purposes is noted by Adami and Kiger (2005) to be heavily dependent on the principle that research should be a rigorous search for absolute and objective truth. Validity and completeness of findings on how nurses and other professionals can recognize signs of self-harm and interrupt a cycle that might lead to suicide are therefore our motivation for choosing triangulation technique for this study. The overarching objective of this study is to find ways of minimizing mortality and injury due to teenage self-harm and suicide among the American youths. This must be done with the highest level of clarity, validity and completeness that can only be achieved by means of triangulation.
- Purpose of Research Proposal
Teenage mortality is an important public health issue because the majority of these deaths are preventable. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and it is believed that 14 to 24 percent of teenagers have engaged in self-harm (NIH, 2008). Every two hours in the United States someone under the age of twenty four successfully commits suicide leaving behind a family and a community that is left to wonder why this has happened and also if there were measures that might have been able to prevent the death from happening (ASS, 2013). The purpose of this proposed study is to explore how nurses and other professionals can recognize signs of self-harm and interrupt a cycle that might lead to suicide. Research into how nurses and professionals are coping with this pandemic will be explored. An important question will be how assessment tools can identify at risk youths. Nurses from many fields work with adolescents; these include those who work in clinics, in hospitals, in schools and in psychiatric units. This proposal intends to provide an outlook on how this pandemic can be mitigated through the involvement of nurses and others who work with adolescents.
- Role and Bias of Researcher
The role of the researcher in this study will be to investigate by means of credible sources and latest information, the role of nurse-assisted early detection of adolescent suicide and self-harm in order to interrupt the deadly cycle that leads to suicide. This would be done by the formulation of objective research question and following a research methodology that is accurate, valid and free of any bias.
Bias is defin.............
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