Critical incidents in a forensic psychiatric population: an exploratory study of motivational factors




Carol A. Ireland, Lisa Halpin & Cath Sullivan

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology

September 15, 2014



This exploratory study examined the motivations for forensic clients’ engagement in critical incidents, specifically hostage-taking, barricades and roof-top protests. Using thematic analysis, a range of themes were identified. These included engaging in such incidents to seek deliberate isolation from others, gaining control, getting their needs meet, a need to communicate and being influenced by their peers. Selection of potential hostages appeared linked to feeling of grievance towards them. Yet the distress of a hostage, along with consideration as to the longer term consequences of their actions both for themselves and morally, appeared to reduce the risk of engagement in such incidents. The results are discussed in terms of Individualism, Self-Determination Theory of Motivation and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.









Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee