Nurses' attitudes towards clients who self-harm

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Title Nurses' attitudes towards clients who self-harm
Author McAllister, Margaret Maura; Creedy, Debra; Moyle, Wendy; Farrugia, Charles
Journal Name Journal of Advanced Nursing
Year Published 2002
Place of publication UK
Publisher Blackwell Science
Abstract Background. Deliberate self-harm is frequently encountered by emergency department (ED) nurses. However, clients are often dissatisfied with the care provided and clinicians feel ambivalent, helpless or frustrated when working with clients who self-harm. Aim. The aim of the study was to develop and test a scale to identify relevant dimensions of ED nurses' attitudes to clients who present with self-injury. Methods. Items on Attitudes Towards Deliberate Self-Harm Questionnaire (ADSHQ) were drawn from a literature review and focus group discussions with ED nurses. The tool was piloted with 20 ED nurses not working in the target agencies. A survey of nurses working within 23 major public and 14 major private EDs in Queensland, Australia (n = 1008) was then undertaken. Results. A total of 352 questionnaires were returned (35% response). Analysis revealed four factors that reflected nurses' attitudes toward these clients. The factors related to nurses' perceived confidence in their assessment and referral skills; ability to deal effectively with clients, empathic approach; and ability to cope effectively with legal and hospital regulations that guide practice. There was a generally negative attitude towards clients who self-harm. Correlations were found between years of ED experience and total score on the ADSHQ, and years of ED experience and an empathic approach towards clients who deliberately self-harm. Conclusion. There is a need for continuing professional development activities to address negative attitudes and provide practical strategies to inform practice and clinical protocols.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI
Copyright Statement Copyright 2002 Blackwell Publishing. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Nurses' attitudes towards clients who self-harm, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 40(5), pp. 578-586, which has been published in final form at
Volume 40
Issue Number 5
Page from 578
Page to 586
ISSN 0309-2402
Date Accessioned 2003-03-14
Language en_US
Research Centre Menzies Health Institute Qld; Centre for Health Practice Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Nursing & Health
Subject PRE2009-Mental Health Nursing
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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