Involuntary hospitalisation experiences of people with psychosis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background: Psychosis is an umbrella term for number of related mental health conditions, including schizophrenia. Treatment for psychosis sometimes involves compulsory hospital admissions under the Mental Health Act (MHA; 1983, amended 2007) and the number of people being detained under the MHA in England is increasing. The literature suggests that involuntary admissions can be distressing or traumatic for people with a range of mental health conditions, however to date just three studies have used a qualitative approach to investigate the experience of involuntary hospitalisation for people with psychosis, with two of these studies being conducted in England.. . Both of these studies utilised grounded theory, whereas the present study aims to investigate the experiences of service users using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).
Method: Seven participants who had been detained under Section 2 of the MHA, which allows individuals to be detained for assessment purposes for up to 28 days, were interviewed regarding their experiences of involuntary hospitalisation. Interviews were analysed using IPA.
Results: Five superordinate themes emerged. The superordinate theme ‘Feeling Controlled’ captured how participants felt that they had no control over a number of aspects of their admission including being taken to hospital, taking medication, socialising and taking part in activities. Within the theme ‘Feeling Disconnected, Dismissed and Deceived’ participants discussed how they valued talking, however this was not always possible due to constraints on staff time, leaving participants feeling dismissed and disconnected. Participants also spoke of the impact of miscommunications and promises made to them which did not materialise. Within the theme ‘Did Involuntary Admission Help?’ participants held contrasting views about whether hospitalisation was helpful or not, with some participants indicating their agreement with being sectioned and other participants believing that hospitalisation exacerbated their problems. The theme ‘Recovery’ captured how participants moved forward with their lives following their admission, reflecting on the links between medication and recovery, and activity and recovery. Within the theme ‘Identity’ participants spoke of the impact of stigma and diagnosis.
Conclusion: This study provides a novel insight into the under-researched area of involuntary hospitalisation experiences of people with psychosis. It has demonstrated how participants can have conflicting experiences of involuntary hospitalisation and how improvements are needed in order to provide service users with psychosis a more therapeutic experience of involuntary hospitalisation. The use of psychological formulation as a framework to understand individual needs may provide one method for improving the involuntary hospitalisation experience, in particular utilising Cognitive Analytic Therapy to understand staff-patient interactions within inpatient settings
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorAsh Summers (Supervisor) & Alex Massey (Supervisor)

Cite this