Use of compulsory community treatment in mental healthcare: An integrative review of stakeholders’ opinions

Dieuwertje Anna de Waardt, Anne Laura van Melle, Guy Antoine Marie Widdershoven, Wichor Matthijs Bramer, Franciscus Martinus Machiel Adrianus van der Heijden, Jorun Rugkåsa, Cornelis Lambert Mulder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Multiple studies have examined the effects of compulsory community treatment (CCT), amongst them there were three randomized controlled trials (RCT). Overall, they do not find that CCT affects clinical outcomes or reduces the number or duration of hospital admissions more than voluntary care does. Despite these negative findings, in many countries CCT is still used. One of the reasons may be that stakeholders favor a mental health system including CCT. Aim: This integrative review investigated the opinions of stakeholders (patients, significant others, mental health workers, and policy makers) about the use of CCT. Methods: We performed an integrative review; to include all qualitative and quantitative manuscripts on the views of patients, significant others, clinicians and policy makers regarding the use of CCT, we searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science Core Collection, Cochrane CENTRAL Register of Controlled Trials (via Wiley), and Google Scholar. Results: We found 142 studies investigating the opinion of stakeholders (patients, significant others, and mental health workers) of which 55 were included. Of these 55 studies, 29 included opinions of patients, 14 included significant others, and 31 included mental health care workers. We found no studies that included policy makers. The majority in two of the three stakeholder groups (relatives and mental health workers) seemed to support a system that used CCT. Patients were more hesitant, but they generally preferred CCT over admission. All stakeholder groups expressed ambivalence. Their opinions did not differ clearly between those who did and did not have experience with CCT. Advantages mentioned most regarded accessibility of care and a way to remain in contact with patients, especially during times of crisis or deterioration. The most mentioned disadvantage by all stakeholder groups was that CCT restricted autonomy and was coercive. Other disadvantages mentioned were that CCT was stigmatizing and that it focused too much on medication. Conclusion: Stakeholders had mixed opinions regarding CCT. While a majority seemed to support the use of CCT, they also had concerns, especially regarding the restrictions CCT imposed on patients’ freedom and autonomy, stigmatization, and the focus on medication.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1011961
JournalFrontiers in psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022


  • attitude of health personnel
  • community treatment order
  • family
  • involuntary treatment
  • outpatient compulsory treatment
  • personal autonomy
  • personal satisfaction
  • supervised community treatment

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