Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The cutting-edge of clinical psychology? : the internet, mental health & self-harm support groups

By John G. R. Baker


The aim of this study is to investigate the role of the internet within the area of mental health support. The first paper reviews the current literature surrounding the use of the internet for self-help and intervention purposes. It highlights investigations into the outcomes, benefits and disadvantages in using this medium for support and therapeutic input. It also highlights the implications within clinical psychology for future research and service development. This is presented in terms of on-going interventions and support, as well as for use within a 'stepped-care' model of service delivery. \ud The second paper presents an empirical investigation into users' experiences of using online support groups concerned with self-harming behaviour. The literature surrounding this area was noted as particularly sparse. The study uses a mixed method incorporating both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Exploration into the responses towards individuals who disclose self-harming behaviour is also performed using a simulated online forum post to which participants 'role-played' replies. \ud The third paper presents a reflective account of the research process. It includes reflection around the area of using the internet as a research tool. It also specifically highlights a methodological critique of the empirical methods with reference to online ethical research guidelines presented by the British Psychological Society (BPS, 2007). Personal reflections on the process, and dealing with a potentially distressing subject matter are also discussed

Topics: BF, RC
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2000). A web of research: they’re fun, they’re fast, and they save money, but do web experiments yield quality results?
  2. (2008). Code of ethics and conduct. doi
  3. (1998). Coming out in the age of the internet: identity “demarginalization” through virtual group participation. doi
  4. (2007). Conducting research on the internet: Guidelines for ethical practice in psychological research online.
  5. (2008). Gender and online cancer support groups: issues facing male cancer patients.
  6. (1998). Internet paradox: a social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well- being? doi
  7. (2007). Office for Communications: (OFCOM): Communications- The Next Decade. Retrieved
  8. (1995). Professional practice guidelines : Division of clinical psychology. doi
  9. (2004). Psychological research online- report of board of scientific affairs' advisory group on the conduct of research on the internet. doi
  10. (2004). Psychological testing on the internet- new problems, old issues. doi
  11. (2004). Should we trust webbased studies? A comparative analysis of six preconceptions about internet questionnaires. doi
  12. (2008). Understanding self-harm and suicide websites- a qualitative interview study of young adult website users. doi
  13. (1999). Using the internet for psychological research: personality testing on the world wide web. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.