The association between perceived coercion on admission and formal coercive practices in an inpatient psychiatric setting

Int J Law Psychiatry. Mar-Apr 2021;75:101680. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2021.101680. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Abstract

Involuntary care is a feature of mental health services around the world. In addition to involuntary admission and treatment, specific coercive practices include seclusion and physical restraint. Our study aimed to determine the relationships, if any, between these practices and perceived coercion on admission among psychiatry inpatients in Ireland, as well as any relationships between perceived coercion on admission and variables such as age, gender and diagnosis. We included 107 psychiatry inpatients aged 18 years or over who were admitted to the acute psychiatry admission units in Tallaght University Hospital and Connolly Hospital, Dublin, Ireland over a 30-month period between September 2017 and February 2020. Over a quarter (27.1%) of participating patients had involuntary status; nine (8.4%) had experienced at least one episode of seclusion, and ten (9.3%) had experienced at least one episode of restraint. Perceived coercion on admission was significantly associated with involuntary status and female gender; perceived negative pressures on admission were significantly associated with involuntary status and positive symptoms of schizophrenia; perceived procedural injustice on admission was significantly associated with fewer negative symptoms, involuntary status, cognitive impairment and female gender; and negative affective reactions to hospitalisation on admission were significantly associated with birth in Ireland and being employed. Total score across these four subscales was significantly associated with involuntary status and positive symptoms, and had borderline significant associations with birth in Ireland, being employed and female gender. Overall, perceived coercion on admission, assessed in retrospect by the patient, is more closely associated with involuntary status and symptoms than it is with subsequent formal coercive practices, such as seclusion and restraint. The role of gender merits particular attention in future research, especially in relation to procedural injustice on admission and perceived coercion on admission.

Keywords: Coercion; Involuntary admission; Mental health legislation.

MeSH terms

  • Coercion
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Psychiatry*
  • Restraint, Physical