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Author: Frances Davies

This research examined the relationship between self-harming behaviour and creativity. Perfectionism, impulsivity and emotion dysregulation were examined as all have been shown to correlate positively to self-harm. Research surrounding self-harm is still extremely lacking in non-clinical settings, despite its increasing prevalence in recent years. A quasi-experimental design was adopted to examine differences in several traits between self-harmers, self-harmers who overdose and a control group who were non self-harmers. The research was conducted via survey, online. All scales adopted for this study were pre validated and reliable measures previously used within similar research. Additionally, basic demographics, previous self-harm experience and psychiatric diagnosis were required. Descriptive statistics confirmed earlier results depicting early adolescence as an increased risk age group for self-harm starting. Findings also confirmed that self-harm tends to be a repetitive behaviour. Both self-harming groups revealed cutting as the most common form of self-harm. Significant differences existed between self-harmers and overdosers in terms of mental illness and subsequent medication usage. One-way ANOVAs indicated significant differences between all three groups in the extent of creative activity, attentional impulsivity, non-disclosure of imperfection and anxiety/depression. In terms of creativity, the two self-harming groups displayed significantly different extent of creative activity levels from the control group. Self-harmers and the control group have significant differences in their total creativity. The group an individual was assigned to moderated their relationships between creativity and the impulsivity, perfectionism and emotion regulation variables. No constant significant relationships existed across the three groups. The research examined the areas it set out to. In particular, self-harmers’ levels of creativity in contrast to self-harmers who overdose and non-self-harmers.

In: Beyond these Walls: Confronting Madness in Society, Literature and Art