Adolescents’ Perspectives About Brief Psychiatric Hospitalization: What is Helpful and What is Not?


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Significant numbers of adolescents receive inpatient psychiatric services, yet we know little about their experiences: what about hospitalization is perceived as helpful and what is counter-productive or even harmful? In this study, eighty adolescents hospitalized for the first time in a psychiatric program were interviewed within a week of discharge (using a semi-structured interview format), and asked to describe what did and did not help them. Multiple themes emerged relating to helpful experiences and these were grouped in three categories: interpersonal support, therapy and psycho-education, and environment; Unhelpful/harmful experiences were classified in four categories: rigidity and confinement, lack of treatment responsiveness, frightening/anxiety-provoking experiences, and other. Participants provided rich feedback that both reinforces existing practices and offers ways for programs to change practices to better meet adolescents’ developmental needs. Some factors noted as key therapeutic ingredients, especially the helpful role of peers, have not previously been included in hospital satisfaction surveys.

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