The Importance of Being Acceptable : Psychiatric Staffs’ Talk about Women Patients in Forensic Care


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Publication Details

Author list: Eivergård, Kristina;Hellzén, Ove

Publication year: 2018

ISSN: 0161-2840

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01612840.2018.1514551


Currently, women comprise about ten percent of those sentenced to psychiatric forensic clinics in Sweden. Those who are sentenced to forensic care because of offending and violent behaviour have already taken a step away from the usually expected female behaviour. On the other hand, there are many women in forensic care who have not committed crimes, but who instead selfharm. Studies have identified a gender bias in diagnosing and care in psychiatric settings, but there are few studies conducted on women in forensic care. The present study therefore examined how the situation of women patients and female norms are expressed in the staff’s talk about these women during verbal handovers and ward rounds at a forensic clinic in Sweden. The aim was to explore how psychiatric staff, in a context of verbal handovers and ward rounds, talk about women who have been committed to forensic psychiatric care, and what consequences this might have for the care of the patients. The content of speech was examined using audio recordings and a method of analysis that was inspired by thematic analysis. The analysis identified that the staff talked about the women in a way that indicates that they expected the women to follow the rules and take responsibility for their bodies in order to be regarded as acceptable patients.


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