Surviving an Alternative Reality: A Qualitative Analysis of Adolescents’ Experiences of Psychiatric Hospitalisation.
thesisposted on 08.01.2009, 12:19 authored by Catherine Painter
Part One: Literature Review Purpose: To explore current knowledge about the psychological impact of psychiatric hospitalisation. Method: A Computerised literature search was completed using six publication databases. Relevant papers were identified and reference list and prospective citation searches were conducted. Particular inclusion and exclusion criteria were employed. Results: Very little literature has explicitly investigated the psychological impact of psychiatric hospitalisation. However, findings around psychological concepts such as identity, stigma, coercion and trauma have started to indicate the nature and extent of psychological responses. The majority of studies are atheoretical in nature and lack methodological rigour. Conclusions: Further research is needed to incorporate psychological theory into an understanding of the experience of psychiatric inpatients. Future research should include rigorous empirical studies within acute adult populations and exploratory qualitative studies with other age/client groups. Part Two: Research Report Objectives: To explore adolescents’ experiences of psychiatric hospitalisation, including the psychological impact of the experience and coping mechanisms. Method: The data from semi-structured interviews with ten adolescents was analysed using the grounded theory method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Results: A process model was developed around the core category ‘Living in an Alternative Reality’. Contributory categories highlighted the possible impact of hospitalisation and outcome categories suggested the ways in which adolescents coped. Discussion/Conclusions: The results suggest that the experiences of adolescent inpatients may be similar to adult experiences. The clinical implications of the findings, such as the need to maintain connections with family and friends and foster supportive relationships within the ward environment, highlight the need to prioritise the service-user perspective in clinical settings and future research. Part Three: Critical Appraisal A reflection on the overall research process is provided. Practical and theoretical issues of interest are discussed, including the influence of the self in qualitative research, the editing process, and power and control.