Acceptability of a brief web-based theory-based intervention to prevent and reduce self-harm: mixed methods evaluation

Keyworth, C., O'Connor, R. , Quinlivan, L. and Armitage, C. J. (2021) Acceptability of a brief web-based theory-based intervention to prevent and reduce self-harm: mixed methods evaluation. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(9), e28349. (doi: 10.2196/28349) (PMID:34518153) (PMCID:PMC8479604)

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Abstract

Background: The volitional help sheet (VHS) for self-harm equips people with a means of responding automatically to triggers for self-harm with coping strategies. Although there is some evidence of its efficacy, improving acceptability and making the intervention available in a web-based format may be crucial to increasing effectiveness and reach. Objective: This study aims to use the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability (TFA) to explore the acceptability of the VHS, examine for whom and under what circumstances this intervention is more or less acceptable, and develop a series of recommendations for how the VHS can be used to support people in reducing repeat self-harm. Methods: We explored acceptability in two phases. First, our patient and public involvement partners evaluated the original VHS from a lived experience perspective, which was subsequently translated into a web-based format. Second, a representative sample of adults in the United Kingdom who had previously self-harmed were recruited via a YouGov survey (N=514) and were asked to rate the acceptability of the VHS based on the seven constructs of the TFA, namely, affective attitude, burden, perceived effectiveness, ethicality, intervention coherence, opportunity costs, and self-efficacy. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, one-tailed t tests, and binary logistic regression. A directed content analysis approach was used to analyze qualitative data. Results: Participants in the web-based survey rated the VHS as positive (affective attitude; t457=4.72; P<.001); were confident using it (self-efficacy; t457=9.54; P<.001); felt they did not have to give up any benefits, profits, or values when using it (opportunity costs; t439=−15.51; P<.001); understood it and how it worked (intervention coherence; t464=11.90; P<.001); and were confident that it would achieve its purpose (perceived effectiveness; t466=2.04; P=.04). The TFA domain burden appeared to be an important indicator of acceptability. Lower levels of perceived burden when using the VHS tool were more prevalent among younger adults aged 18-24 years (OR 3.63, 95% CI 1.50-8.78), people of White ethnic background (OR 3.02, 95% CI 1.06-8.613), and people without a long-term health condition (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.01-2.30). Perceived modifications to further improve acceptability included improved formatting (burden), the feature to add new situations and responses or amend existing ones (ethicality), and clearer instructions and further detail about the purpose of the VHS (intervention coherence). Conclusions: Our findings show high levels of acceptability among some people who have previously self-harmed, particularly among younger adults, people of White ethnic backgrounds, and people without long-term health conditions. Future research should aim to improve acceptability among older adults, people from minority ethnic groups, and people with long-term health conditions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O'Connor, Professor Rory
Authors: Keyworth, C., O'Connor, R., Quinlivan, L., and Armitage, C. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Journal of Medical Internet Research
Publisher:JMIR Publications
ISSN:1439-4456
ISSN (Online):1438-8871
Published Online:14 September 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Chris Keyworth, Rory O'Connor, Leah Quinlivan, Christopher J Armitage
First Published:First published in Journal of Medical Internet Research 23(9): e28349
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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