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Reconceptualizing involuntary outpatient psychiatric treatment from “capacity” to “capability”


Light, EM and Robertson, MD and Kerridge, IH and Boyce, P and Carney, T and Rosen, A and Cleary, M and Hunt, GE and O'Connor, N, Reconceptualizing involuntary outpatient psychiatric treatment from 'capacity' to 'capability', Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, 23, (1) pp. 33-45. ISSN 1071-6076 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Johns Hopkins University Press

DOI: doi:10.1353/ppp.2016.0005


Justifying involuntary psychiatric treatment on the basis of a judgment that a person lacks capacity is controversial because there are questions about the meaning and utility of the concept in this context. There are complexities to using capacity in this way, which are further amplified in the community outpatient setting compared with acute inpatient care. A richer account of capacity, its meanings, and practical applications in context, is required. This qualitative study sought to build inductively a model of capacity in the context of involuntary outpatient psychiatric treatment, based on 38 interviews with stakeholders from New South Wales, Australia. The emergent model incorporates multiple "capacities": to manage illness, for self-care, and to maintain social roles. It identifies core values that correspond with the "capabilities approach," elaborating the justifications and processes of involuntary outpatient psychiatric treatment. This proposed model of "capability" may have a range of benefits to sound and ethical practice and scrutiny of systems of involuntary outpatient treatment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:qualitative research, community mental health care, capabilities, ethics, mental health law
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:111258
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-09-07
Last Modified:2018-02-06
Downloads:157 View Download Statistics

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