Comparative Study

| Published: June 28, 2019

Exploring the Impact of Parenting Style and Attachment on Self-Harm in UK and Sri Lankan Students

Majuwana Gamage Lasara Kavindi Kariyawasam

Ph. D. Student, MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom Google Scholar More about the auther

, Dr. Margarita Ononaiye

Ph.D., Clinical Director, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.077/20190702

DOI: 10.25215/0702.077


Self-harm is the intentional destruction of the body tissue with or without a suicidal purpose. Self-harm is the second leading cause of death across the world and it is most prevalent among young people. Although parenting style and parental attachment have shown to have a direct impact on chronic self-harm, surprisingly there is very limited research exploring the complex interplay between these factors and cultural differences. Therefore, this study aimed to explore whether parenting style (using the Parental Authority Questionnaire) and the quality of parent-child attachment (using the Inventory of Parents and Peer Attachments) has an impact on self-harming in young people from the UK (n = 100) and Sri Lanka (n = 100), using a questionnaire-based quantitative design. Results indicated that Sri Lankan students currently self-harm more compared to the British students, although a substantial difference in the parenting style was not found between the two cultures. Irrespective of the cultural background, participants from both countries were more likely to self-harm in the absence of strong, secure attachments with parents. Authoritarian parenting style also had a direct impact on self-harm. Clinical implications highlighted the importance of awareness of the pivotal role of parenting when managing a young person who is self-harming. Furthermore, clinicians would benefit from incorporating culturally relevant treatment methods when working in multicultural settings.

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429



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Published in   Volume 07, Issue 2, April-June, 2019