Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 843–852 | Cite as

Trust, choice and power in mental health

A literature review
  • Richard LaugharneEmail author
  • Stefan Priebe


Trust, choice and empowerment of patients are emerging as important issues in mental health care. This may be due to an increasingly consumerist attitude amongst patients and as a consequence of postmodern cultural changes in society. This study aimed to find evidence for the influence of trust, patient choice and patient empowerment in mental health care. A literature review was undertaken. Six searches of PubMed were made using the key terms trust, patient choice and power combined separately with psychiatry and mental health. The literature search found substantial research evidence in the areas of trust, choice and power including validated scales measuring these concepts and evidence that they are important to patients. Trust in general health clinicians was found to be high and continuity of care increases patients’ trust in their clinician. However, only qualitative research has been found on trust in mental health settings and further quantitative studies are needed. Patient choice is important to patients and improves engagement with services, although studies on outcome show varying results. Empowerment has impacted more at an organisational level than on individual care. Innovative research methodologies are needed to expand on the present significant body of research, utilising qualitative and quantitative techniques.


trust choice power psychosis 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornwall Partnership Trust and Peninsula Medical School, Mental Health Research GroupWonford House HospitalExeterUK
  2. 2.Unit for Social and Community PsychiatryBart’s and the London School of Medicine, Newham Centre for Mental HealthLondonUK

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