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Family members' involvement in psychiatric care: experiences of the healthcare professionals' approach and feeling of alienation


  • Author contributions: ME, KL and BA were responsible for the conception of the study. ME performed the data collection. ME and ES performed the data analysis. ME drafted the manuscript and KL, ES and BA made critical revisions to the manuscript. KL and BA supervised the study.

M. Ewertzon
School of Health Care and Social Sciences
Högskolan Dalarna
SE-791 88 Falun


Accessible summary

  • • The results contribute knowledge of family member's (from a large geographic area) experiences of psychiatric healthcare professionals' approach towards them, an approach that is characterized by ‘Openness’, ‘Confirmation’ and ‘Cooperation’.
  • • The results contribute knowledge that their experiences of the professional's approach is partly associated with a feeling of being alienated from professional care, characterized by ‘Powerlessness’ and ‘Social isolation’.
  • • The result also contributes knowledge of relationships between family member's level of satisfaction in their contact with psychiatric care and their experience of the healthcare professionals' approach and feeling of alienation.


The involvement of family members in psychiatric care is important for the recovery of persons with psychotic disorders and subsequently reduces the burden on the family. Earlier qualitative studies suggest that the participation of family members can be limited by how they experience the professionals' approach, which suggests a connection to the concept of alienation. Thus, the aim of this study was in a national sample investigate family members' experiences of the psychiatric health care professionals' approach. Data were collected by the Family Involvement and Alienation Questionnaire. The median level and quartiles were used to describe the distributions and data were analysed with non-parametric statistical methods. Seventy family members of persons receiving psychiatric care participated in the study. The results indicate that a majority of the participants respond that they have experiencing a negative approach from the professionals, indicating lack of confirmation and cooperation. The results also indicate that a majority of the participants felt powerlessness and social isolation in the care being provided, indicating feelings of alienation. A significant but weak association was found between the family members' experiences of the professionals' approach and their feelings of alienation.