Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


This study examined whether differences existed between the perceptions of clients and nurses, in the reasons given for secluding clients. The study was designed to compare reasons given by the group of clients, the group of nurses, and the individual client/nurse dyads. Erickson, Tomlin and Swain’s (1983) grand theory of Modeling and Role-Modeling served as the theoretical framework. Based on this theory, learning about a client’s perceptions of seclusion facilitates understanding an individual client’s view of the world; and provides an important basis for individualized nursing care. This qualitative study included 17 clients and nurses drawn from four psychiatric units located at a rural Midwest mental hospital of approximately 500 clients. A pilot study was conducted on one seclusion incident to test the data collection and analysis process. An inquiry audit by a nurse researcher with experience in qualitative research was conducted to determine the trustworthiness of the findings. The study revealed a difference between nurses’ perceived reasons for seclusion and clients’ perceived reasons for seclusion. The most frequent reason for seclusion given by nurses was to “regain control” and the most frequent reason cited by clients was anger. Both clients and nurses gave “attacking staff and others” as one of the main reasons for seclusion. All informants, both client and nurses, gave more than one reason for secluding a client. Future research is needed to clearly understand clients’ behavior and staffs’ interventions. Research on the relationship between the frequency and quality of staff interaction with clients and client behavior is also recommended. Learning more about the dynamics of the client-nurse interaction is essential in providing interventions which demonstrate an understanding of the client’s unique needs.


Eileen Deges Curl

Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1996 Virginia A. Bauer


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