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Different forms of informal coercion in psychiatry: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number787 (2019)
Number of pages4
JournalBMC Research Notes
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Nov 2019
DatePublished (current) - 2 Dec 2019


OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study was to investigate how mental health professionals describe and reflect upon different forms of informal coercion.

RESULTS: In a deductive qualitative content analysis of focus group interviews, several examples of persuasion, interpersonal leverage, inducements, and threats were found. Persuasion was sometimes described as being more like a negotiation. Some participants worried about that the use of interpersonal leverage and inducements risked to pass into blackmail in some situations. In a following inductive analysis, three more categories of informal coercion was found: cheating, using a disciplinary style and referring to rules and routines. Participants also described situations of coercion from other stakeholders: relatives and other authorities than psychiatry. The results indicate that informal coercion includes forms that are not obviously arranged in a hierarchy, and that its use is complex with a variety of pathways between different forms before treatment is accepted by the patient or compulsion is imposed.

    Research areas

  • Coercion, Ethics, Informal coercion, Leverage, Psychiatry, Qualitative research

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    Licence: CC BY


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