An empirical analysis of internet message boards for self-harming behavior.
Eichenberg, C. & Schott, M.
Much debate surrounds the potential effects of self-harm forum use. Arguments in favor highlight factors such as providing access to a supportive community. However critical voice highlighting potential dangers such as forums serving as a platform to promote self-harm, clearly dominate the debate. Using an online questionnaire, the goal of the current study was to examine sociodemographic characteristics, the psychopathology of forum users, motives for participating, and subjective effects of self-harm forum use. A total of 309 self-harm forum users participated in this study. 3 heterogeneous user types with differing motives for visiting the forum and different usage effects were identified. The results question the assumptions that self-harm forums are a source of harm and point to their predominantly constructive and preventive functions.