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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2017 Jan 12;11:3. doi: 10.1186/s13034-016-0136-1. eCollection 2017.

Characteristics of adolescents frequently restrained in acute psychiatric units in Norway: a nationwide study.

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Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Centre for Forensic Psychiatry, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway ; Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern Norway, Oslo, Norway.
Oslo Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Department of Research and Development, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Centre for Forensic Psychiatry, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Division of Mental Health Services, Akershus University Hospital, Lorenskog, Norway ; Division of Health Service Research and Psychiatry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.



The use of restraints in adolescent psychiatric settings requires particular professional, ethical, and legal considerations. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the number of restraint episodes per patient was related to any of several characteristics of the adolescents.


In this nationwide study, we included all adolescents restrained during the period 2008-2010 (N = 267) in Norwegian adolescent acute psychiatric inpatient units. They constitute 6.5% of the adolescents hospitalized in these units in the same period of time. We collected data on the number of restraint episodes they experienced during the study period; Poisson regression was then used to analyze the impact of gender, social, mental health, and treatment characteristics on the frequency of restraint. We developed a risk index for the likelihood of experiencing multiple restraint episodes.


We found a skewed distribution of restraint episodes in which a small group (18%) of restrained adolescents experienced a majority (77%) of the restraint episodes. A large percentage of the restrained adolescents (36%) experienced only one restraint episode. Risk factors for multiple restraint episodes were female gender, lower psychosocial functioning (Children's Global Assessment Scale below 35), more and longer admissions, and concomitant use of pharmacological restraint. Except for gender, we used these variables to develop a risk index that was moderately associated with multiple restraint episodes.


As a small group of patients accounted for a large percentage of the restraint episodes, future research should further investigate the reasons for and consequences of multiple restraint episodes in patients at acute adolescent psychiatric units, and evaluate preventive approaches targeted to reduce their risk for experiencing restraint.


Adolescence; Health care research; Inpatient; Restraint

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