Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Mary Secret


Civil detainment can be confusing, frustrating, and scary especially if the criteria for civil detainment are being applied inconsistently. A constructivist inquiry, using qualitative techniques as the primary information gathering method, was conducted to gain a better understanding about the experience of civil detainment. Twenty-five stakeholders participated in this research effort. Questions regarding the meaning of civil detainment were explored in five stakeholder groups; individuals with mental illness, families, mental health professionals, first responders and judicial professionals. Civil detainment is described as a “necessary evil” however, mandated treatment is also described as a means to restore dignity. Implications are included for social work practice and policy. Recommendations for future research are identified.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2012

Included in

Social Work Commons