Understanding adverse experiences in the psychiatric institution: The importance of child abuse histories in iatrogenic trauma

L. Felice Reddy, William D. Spaulding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychiatric institutions are intended to be places of treatment and sanctuary. However, iatrogenic events in the hospital may interfere with treatment delivery and adherence (Shaw, McFarlane, & Bookless, 1997); additionally, a history of childhood abuse may increase vulnerability to negative emotional reactions to later adverse or threatening events (Chisholm, Freeman, & Cooke, 2006). The present study extends previous research on the frequency and impact of negative hospital events using the Psychiatric Experiences Questionnaire (Cusack et al., 2003), specifically considering the rate of negative events and consumers' perceptions of their treatment experiences. Questionnaires were administered to 43 participants with a history of at least one inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Results indicated that 98% of participants had experienced at least one negative event in the psychiatric hospital. Child abuse history was significantly related to number of reported negative hospital events, so that those with a history of child abuse reported experiencing a greater number of negative hospital events and a higher level of subjective distress. Implications for research, clinical practice, and policy to improve trauma-sensitive assessments and treatments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Services
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Restraint
  • Seclusion
  • Severe mental illness
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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