The experience of physical restraint: a systematic review of qualitative research

Contemp Nurse. 2002 Oct;13(2-3):126-35. doi: 10.5172/conu.13.2-3.126.


The objective of this review was to summarise the experience of physical restraint from the perspectives of the person subject to restraint and of their family. A review of interpretive and descriptive research was undertaken that entailed a comprehensive literature search. Studies were included in the review if they provided qualitative data on this experience. An interpretive data synthesis was undertaken to generate a composite description of the experience of restraint. Findings highlight the predominantly negative impact of physical restraint on the person restrained and their family. These findings support minimal use of restraint in health care and give voice to a relatively powerless and vulnerable group of people.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anger
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Family / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Humans
  • Negativism
  • Nursing Methodology Research*
  • Patient Selection
  • Power, Psychological
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design
  • Restraint, Physical / adverse effects
  • Restraint, Physical / methods
  • Restraint, Physical / psychology*
  • Vulnerable Populations