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Staff attitudes and thoughts about the use of coercion in acute psychiatric wards



Previous research has shown considerable differences in how often coercive measures are used in mental health care between groups of patients, institutions and geographical areas. Staff attitudes towards the use of coercion have been put forward as a factor that may influence these differences.


This study investigates the attitudes to coercion in 651 staff members within 33 Norwegian acute psychiatric wards. The newly developed Staff Attitude to Coercion Scale was used to measure staff attitudes.


Multilevel analysis showed that there was significant variance among wards, estimated to be about 8–11% of the total variance on three scales.


Despite substantial differences in attitudes among wards, most of the variance could be attributed to individual staff level factors. Hence, it is likely that staff attitudes are influenced, to a large extent, by each individual staff member’s personality and values.

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Correspondence to Tonje Lossius Husum.

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Husum, T.L., Bjørngaard, J.H., Finset, A. et al. Staff attitudes and thoughts about the use of coercion in acute psychiatric wards. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 46, 893–901 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-010-0259-2

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  • Staff attitudes
  • Coercion
  • Acute psychiatric wards
  • Multilevel analysis