Self-injury means the destruction of one's own body tissue in terms of cutting, burning, breaking bones, or insert needles under the skin. It is often carried out intentionally but without suicidal intent. It is a form of coping strategy to manage emotional pain and situations in life but is not a socially sanctioned and culturally accepted way of coping. Self-injury is also about shame and previous publications in the project have shown how shame precedes self-injury and is reproduced in social interaction, and how self-injury also are used to manage shame. But in an attempt to manage shame (reduce it) self-injury also becomes the source of shame. The project will continue exploring shame and how shame are managed, especially discussing how shame can be managed in interpersonal interactions and relations.

As self-injury is foremost associated with teenagers or young adults but is carried out in all ages it thus becomes significant to understand how self-injury are experienced and talked about by grown-up woman. What kind of self-destructive acts is carried out by older woman and what is specific about their experiences? Studies that have been done in older populations show that they engage in both direct and indirect actions of self-injury, and that these actions more often relate to suicide than in the younger generations. Among middle aged individuals there are a few studies that show that they often have a psychiatric diagnosis, for example bipolar disease and that they have a higher degree of stress/anxiety.

Funder: Internally financed research

Project leader: Nina V. Gunnarsson