Current research

Here we highlight our research. This is update periodically with details, reports and  contacts as they become available. Current ongoing research is presented first, with particular priority given to projects for which we are currently recruiting (links to the project Participant Information Sheets are provided).


John Fitzgerald – Beyond non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI): Interviews with adults living with a history of NSSI.

The purpose of this project is to source, analyse and report stories of recovery and life after non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) from those who live with a history of this behaviour. The stories will be analysed and crafted into thematic expositions to advance our understanding of what it is like to live through this experience, and identify factors which assist or hinder recovery.

(November 2016) I am still seeking participants for this study. If you are interested to find out more please look at the Participant Information Sheet Beyond NSSI – PIS v.2

John Fitzgerald – Helping Hands: Understanding the impact of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) on others.

This study explores the experiences of those who self-harm and those who are close to them (parents, siblings, boyfriend/girlfriend, and friends) and health practitioners. Information will be collected by a number of one-off interviews examining different experiences of self-harm and seeking to understand the behaviours, thoughts and feelings that NSSI promotes. We will use this project to develop better resources and support for all those affected by NSSI.

(November 2016) We are looking for a small group of participants who EITHER –

  1. are aged 18-25 years and engage in some form of NSSI – Helping Hands – PIS – NSSI, OR
  2. have experience as a parent, sibling, friend, or ‘significant other’/partner of someone who currently engages in NSSI BUT have no personal history of NSSI – Helping Hands – PIS – NSSI 

Dasha Fedchuck – The experiences of non-suicidal self-harmers in LGBTIQ communities: A qualitative exploration.

New Zealand research addressing deliberate self-harm (DSH) in the non-heterosexual population is very limited (Skegg, Nada-Raja, Dickson, Paul and Williams 2003). This is despite an already established connection between being within the sexual minorities and being a self-injurer (Alexander and Clare, 2004; Batejan, Jarvi, and Swenson, 2014; McDermott, Roen and Piela, 2013). Recently, the Australian Senate Committee report has identified the LGBTQ community as a high-risk group for suicide and suicidal behaviours, including self-harm (Skerrett, Kõlves, and De Leo, 2015). This has led to a countrywide change in policy and implementation of research, targeting specifically queer individuals. The aim of this exploratory study is to gather and synthesise the views of queer individuals into a form that will assist practitioners to engage effectively with this group in the future.

Dasha has finished her data collection and is currently writing her thesis.

Louise Edwards – Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide risk among young adults: An examination of the role of perceived burdensomeness.

While NSSI is hazardous in its own right, previous or concurrent NSSI has been reported to be a major risk factor for suicide attempts (SA) with approximately 50-60% of individuals who die by suicide having a history of NSSI. Elucidating the relationship between NSSI and SA thus has important clinical implications in suicide prevention interventions and risk management. The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide is a model developed to provide at least partial explanation for the many unanswered questions about death by suicide and to increase understanding of the aetiology of SA.  This theory posits that dying by suicide occurs when an individual has both the desire to die and the capability to act upon that desire (Joiner, 2005).  The desire to die is thought to develop in the presence of two interpersonal constructs occurring concurrently – thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness.  However, in order for an individual to engage in SA, they must also acquire the capability for suicide.  It has been suggested that perceived burdensomeness may act as an activating agent impacting on other SA. The current research aims to gain further insight into the role of perceived burdensomeness and its relationship with NSSI and SA in search for a critical threshold that may further illuminate the transition from NSSI to SA. In addition it aims to explore themes and narratives of burdensomeness amongst those who have attempted suicide or engaged in NSSI.