Exploring Individual Factors Associated with Critical Incidents in a Secure Psychiatric Setting: A Preliminary Study




Carol A. Ireland, Lisa Halpin & Jane L. Ireland

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law

August 28, 2014







This study explored individual factors associated with critical incidents that required professional intervention. Critical incidents were defined as holding someone against their will (i.e., hostage-taking), rooftop demonstrations and isolating oneself from others (i.e., barricades). Participants were from a high secure psychiatric hospital. All had a known history of having engaged in critical incidents. They were compared with a matched sample from the same hospital with no such history. Thirty-four patients were recruited, 16 in the study group and 18 in the comparison group. Extraversion, agreeableness and an impulsive/careless problem-solving style were noted in those who perpetrated critical incidents. Personality and problem solving were variables distinguishing the perpetrators of critical incidents. Future research exploring in more detail the individual factors associated with involvement in critical incidents is suggested.









Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee