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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 1998 May-Jun;19(3):191-206.

Being restrained: a study of power and powerlessness.

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  • 1Rush University College of Nursing, Armour Academic Center, Chicago, IL 60612-3832, USA.


Previous research about the use of restraints has mainly sought generalizations regarding (a) who is likely to be restrained, (b) the frequency of the use of restraints, and (c) the behavior that precipitates the application of restraining devices. Therefore, there has been a paucity of research that attempts to understand the impact of restraint on the restrained person. The purpose of this study was to understand the meaning of the experience of being restrained for 10 psychiatric patients who had been restrained in leather restraints. Participants were interviewed in unstructured interviews. The taped interviews were transcribed and analyzed by means of a modification of an eight-stage interpretive process, grounded in Heideggerian phenomenology. In this article the theme of power is reported and discussed.

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