Jacobs Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science

Perceptions and Attitudes towards Involuntary Hospital Admissions of Psychiatric Patient

Published on: 2017-03-20


Introduction: Involuntary admissions to acute psychiatric units are one of the most ethically challenging practices in Psychiatry. However, published literature falls back in examining this area that touches patient’s rights and freedom. Objectives: To examine patients’, physicians’ and relatives’ attitudes towards involuntary hospitalization. Method: Authors searched PubMed and Medline for articles published in the last 15 years (between January 1999 and January 2014); choosing English-language articles of studies based on samples drawn from inpatients admitted on an involuntary basis. Results: Out of a total of (198) published papers in refereed journals, there were (n=36) articles, including four reviews and thirty three original research papers which met the inclusion criteria for our review. All (n=36) papers examined patients’, relatives’, and professionals’ attitudes towards involuntary admission and perception of coercion. Of the total publications, there were (n=12) research articles which solely examined patients’ perception of coercion. The “European multi-site research project on coercion in psychiatry” (EUNOMIA) research project has provided extensive evidence for the current status on patients’ attitudes towards involuntary hospitalization and coercion. Significant proportions of patients regarded that involuntary admission as justified. However, attitudes towards coercion appeared to be more complex, and patients’ attitudes varied between studies. In a number of studies, the diagnosis was the main predictor of the admission status. Conclusion: There is evidence that the majority of patients who initially perceived that they did not need hospitalization revised their belief after hospital discharge and reported that they had needed hospital treatment.


Involuntary; Hospitalization; Attitudes; Coercion; Professionals; Next of Kin