Function Replacement in repeated Self-Harm: Standardising Therapeutic Assessment and the Related Therapy (work package 1)

Acronym: FReSH START

Chief investigator: Professor Allan House 0113 343 2925,

University/sponsor: University of Leeds

What is the study about?

The FReSH START study is the first work package of a five year programme aiming to adapt existing therapies to target repeated self harm.

The study uses Q methodology to characterise the functions of self-harm described by people who self-harm. This will subsequently be used to develop a framework of reasons why people self-harm.

Q Methodology
Q methodology is the scientific study of subjectivity. Subjectivity is defined as someone’s communication of their own point of view; this is done through a Q-sorting task.

Who can we include?

  • People aged 16+
  • Individuals who repeatedly self-harm – defined as someone who has harmed themselves more than twice.

Who do we need to exclude?

  • Those who cause unintentional harm associated with excess alcohol, drug consumption or eating disorders
  • English not first spoken language

What is involved for Participants?

Participant’s would be visited by a member of the study team to complete the following.

Q sorting will be conducted in a range of settings: one-to-one with a researcher, in small groups facilitated by a researcher and via post with instructions and support provided via Skype or phone if required.

Prior to completing the Q sort, participants will have chance to give consent for their data to be collected. At the start of the Q sort participants will be reminded of the purpose of the study. They will then follow this procedure:

1. They will be given a pack of approximately 40 small cards; each card has a statement printed on it from the Q set. The Q set will be shuffled to prevent order effects. It is anticipated that the Q sort process will take around 45 minutes to one hour.
2. Once participants have sorted the statements they will be asked to copy the statement numbers of their Q sort onto the small Q grid in their participant booklet. They will then be asked to answer the open ended questions and complete the background questionnaire.
3. Participants thanked and an explanation of what will happen to their data
4. If the person has completed the Q sort remotely (phone, skype, post) they will be asked to return the booklet in a prepaid envelope.

Contact Lead:

Madeline McCarthy, FReSH START local Collaborator: email

Imogen Sargent, Clinical Research Team Leader: email