Our research program has 4 major strands, including:
1. Self-injury e-activity and e-communication
Over the past several years, our lab has conducted a number of studies to better understand the manner by which youth and emerging adults communicate about non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) via the Internet. This has involved a number of studies examining different online platforms used by individuals to discuss their NSSI experiences as well as approaches involving e-community members. Our goals here have been to understand what motivates NSSI e-communication, what maintains this over time, and the impact this may have on those involved.
2. Self-injury Recovery
Another central goal of our research is to understand people's experiences with NSSI recovery. Although many individuals who self-injure struggle to stop self-injuring, we know that recovery is possible. To this end, we are interested in understanding what processes are involved in the recovery process and how we can facilitate and augment this process. Our research in this area has focused on investigating people's perceptions of NSSI recovery, the merits of recovery-based models (e.g., the Stages of Change), and issues that may affect the trajectory of recovery (e.g., scarring, disclosing NSSI to others). This has also involved research examining how recovery is discussed online.
3. Online outreach & resource provision
Related to the above, we are interested in developing novel ways to reach and help those who presently struggle with NSSI. A significant part of this is how the Internet can be used as a tool to reach these individuals in order to provide a variety of NSSI resources (e.g., information, coping tools). We believe that in order to effectively address NSSI, a multi-pronged solution is needed - one that focuses on providing those who self-injure with resources but also those who can help these individuals. To this end, we have co-developed SiOS - the first international outreach initiative for self-injury.
4. Self-injury and mental health literacy
We are also working on ways to foster and enhance people's literacy concerning self-injury and associated mental health issues. To do this, we are involved in several projects examining the quality of information currently available concerning these issues and ways to increase access to better quality information. We are also involved in the evaluation of mental health literacy. programs.