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Anna von Tunzelmann image

BBC (Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications) Journalism, New Zealand Broadcasting School
BA (Hons) Psychology (1st), Massey University
PhD Student, Suicide and Mental Health Research Group

Contact details



  • Research Associate Professor Gabrielle Jenkin, Director of the Suicide and Mental Health Research Group
  • Dr Emily Cooney, Senior Lecturer Clinical Psychology
  • Dr Sarah McKenzie, Senior Research Fellow

Thesis Topic

Experiences of Binge-Drinking as an Act of Deliberate Self-Harm

Project Summary

Young people aged 18–29 years old is the demographic most likely to experience harm from hazardous drinking and to be hospitalised for self-injurious behaviour. Although poisoning is the leading cause of self-harm hospitalisation in Australia and New Zealand, alcohol intoxication is not widely recognised as a mode of intentional self-poisoning. Focused on the lived experience of emerging adults, this research investigates participants' understanding of using alcohol as vehicle for self-harm.

Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), 8 -10 participants will be interviewed about intentionally seeking harm through incidents of hazardous drinking. Each account will be individually explored as a case study and interpreted in depth before cross-case analysis will examine convergence and divergence within the cohort.

This research aims to span the distance between current conceptualisations of binge-drinking and self-harm within mental health practice and the lived experience of emerging adults. It is hoped a richer understanding of binge-drinking as a mode of deliberate self-harm will inform pragmatic applications within therapeutic settings.


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