Developing self-neglect theory: analysis of related and atypical cases of people identified as self-neglecting

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Abstract

LAUDER W., ROXBURGH M., HARRIS J. & LAW J. (2009) Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing16, 447–454 Developing self-neglect theory: analysis of related and atypical cases of people identified as self-neglecting

Self-neglect is a complex, relatively common and as yet not fully understood phenomenon. People who self-neglect often do not undertake those activities which are judged necessary to maintain a socially accepted standard of personal and household hygiene or to maintain their health status. This may be explained by a variety of factors of which psychopathology, culture, social class and poverty all play a role in the construction of this phenomenon. The self-neglect literature overwhelmingly presents professional views and focuses on the most severe cases. This paper explores some core issues in relation to self-neglect theory through in-depth interviews with atypical (related) cases. These cases allow the boundaries of what is and is not self-neglect to be tested. Analysis of these cases suggests that self-neglect remains a useful concept but contains a far wide range of presentations than previously reported.

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