Psychiatric nursing staffs' attitudes towards the use of containment methods in psychiatric inpatient care: An integrative review

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2019 Apr;28(2):390-406. doi: 10.1111/inm.12574. Epub 2019 Feb 13.


One of the international objectives in psychiatric care is reducing the use of coercion. Containment methods are meant to keep patients safe, yet usually include coercion. Nurses play a key role in deciding whether or not containment should be used and, as such, their attitudes towards containment can significantly impact the extent to which these methods are applied. The aim of this integrative review was to identify, analyse, and synthesize the available research on psychiatric nursing staffs' attitudes towards containment methods in inpatient psychiatric care. An electronic search was conducted using the CINAHL, Scopus, and PsycINFO databases. In addition, the citations of identified studies were screened for relevant research. A total of 24 relevant papers published between 2002 and 2017 were selected for further analysis. These studies revealed variation in nursing staffs' attitudes towards the use of containment methods. The use of containment methods seems to be widely accepted and nurses reported rarely considering alternative measures. It appears that attitudes towards containment have continuously become more negative, although the change has not been very pronounced. The concept of attitude was only defined in two studies. Thus, future research should strive to clarify this concept, as a generally accepted definition for attitude within nursing research and the utilization of all dimensions of this concept are both essential to the nursing field. Currently, it would be important to focus on changing attitudes among psychiatric nursing staff to reduce the use of containment methods; this calls for more research on nursing staffs' attitudes.

Keywords: attitude of health personnel; coercion; nursing staff; psychiatric hospitals; psychiatric nursing; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Psychiatric Nursing*
  • Restraint, Physical* / methods
  • Restraint, Physical* / psychology