The validity of mental patients' accounts of coercion-related behaviors in the hospital admission process

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; *Coercion; *Commitment of Mentally Ill; Female; Health Services Research; *Hospitals, Psychiatric; Humans; Male; Medical History Taking; Mental Disorders; Patient Admission; Pennsylvania; Reproducibility of Results; Truth Disclosure; Virginia


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


Although the recent development of a measure for perceived coercion has led to great progress in research on coercion in psychiatric settings, there still exists no consensus on how to measure the existence of real coercive events or pressures. This article reports the development of a system for integrating chart review data and data from interviews with multiple participants in the decision for an individual to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The method generates a "most plausible factual account" (MPFA). We then compare this account with that of patients, admitting clinicians and other collateral informants in 171 cases. Patient accounts most closely approximate the MPFA on all but one of nine dimensions related to coercion. This may be due to wider knowledge of the events surrounding the admission.


Law Hum Behav. 1997 Aug;21(4):361-76.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Law and human behavior

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID