Inclusion, motivation, and good faith: the morality of coercion in mental hospital admission

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

*Coercion; Family; Female; *Hospitalization; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; *Morals; Motivation; *Patient Participation; Pennsylvania; Virginia


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


We administered a semi-structured interview to 157 patients shortly after their admission to a psychiatric hospital. In the first, and open-ended, part of the interview, patients were asked to talk about what had been going on in their lives that led to their coming into the hospital. Then, in a more structured format, they were asked more specific details about who was involved, the patients' relationships with those involved, whether any attempts were made to influence the patient to come into the hospital, and whether such attempts were perceived as fair by the patient. This article presents a qualitative review of the transcripts of a subset of these interviews. It attends specifically to patients' perceptions of the morality of attempts by others--primarily family members, friends and mental health professionals--to influence them to be admitted to the hospital, and of the morality of the process by which these influence attempts resulted in admission.

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Citation: Behav Sci Law. 1993 Summer;11(3):295-306.

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