Trauma Narratives of People of Color: A Qualitative Analysis of Involuntary Hospitalization

Ollie Trac and Alex Colson

Authors:  Ollie Trac, Alex Colson, Victoria McNeil, M.S., Jules Sostre, Della V. Mosley, Ph.D.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Della Mosley

College:  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Being involuntarily hospitalized can be a traumatic experience and can induce feelings of fear and disempowerment (Seed, Fox, & Berry, 2016). Previous literature on involuntary hospitalization were lacking attention to the experiences of People of Color. However, race plays a powerful role in the quality of healthcare for People of Color (Hall, 1997; Feagin & Bennefield, 2014). To address health disparities in psychiatric care, cultural competence among healthcare providers must be improved (Hall, 1997). The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of People of Color’s traumatic involuntary hospitalization experiences. This study examined moments People of Color described as contributing to a traumatic involuntary hospitalization, and how People of Color made sense of these experiences. Six participant interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) and constructivist grounded theory methods. Initial data analysis revealed several preliminary themes: a) loss of autonomy; b) dehumanization; c) unnecessary physical force by authorities; d) invalidation and e) lack of trust in mental health professionals. These findings are critical in demonstrating experiences for People of Color in traumatic involuntary hospitalizations. The results can inform mental health policy aimed at reducing the trauma of involuntary hospitalizations and improving the well-being of People of Color.

Poster Pitch

Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.


Click the image to enlarge.
3 Responses
  1. Ollie Trac

    Hi everyone! Thank you for stopping by to check out our poster. Feel free to watch the video and take a closer look at our poster, giving extra attention to reading the participants’ experiences under our Results section. You’re welcome to leave a comment/question down here or join me in Zoom to engage with the material further:

  2. James Shepperd

    Interesting poster! It would be great to see if the themes that emerged in your qualitative research reproduced with quantitative data.

    1. Ollie Trac

      That’s an interesting idea, Dr. Shepperd! I’m wondering what a quatitative reproduction would look like that accounts for an intersectional framework?