Problem presentation and responses on an online forum for young people who self-harm
Smithson, Janet ; Sharkey, Siobhan; Hewis, Elaine; Jones, Ray; Emmens, Tobit; Ford, Tamsin; Owens, Christabel
Discourse Studies, Volume 13, issue 4 (August 2011), p. 487-501.
ISSN: 1461-4456 DOI: 10.1177/1461445611403356
In this article we investigate the nature of problem presentation and responses on an online forum for young people who self-harm. Previous studies have raised concerns about the peer
encouragement of self-harming behaviours in online forums, and this analysis considers the nature of peer interaction on a specific forum, ‘SharpTalk’. This was a research forum which explored the potential of online communities to foster engagement and shared learning between NHS professionals and young people who self-harm. This analysis draws on conversation analysis methods to study problem presentation and responses, and nature of advice given. Analysis highlighted both the tendency to offer advice where it was not asked for, and the mundane ‘safe’ nature of advice. This awareness of how young people interact and provide support online is important for those setting up online interventions to support young people who self-harm.