Eighteen studies (n=1,140) were included in the review (nine prospective and nine retrospective).
Nine studies were scored low quality, six studies scored medium quality and three studies scored high quality. Three studies scored 0. No study scored higher than 6. Seven studies clearly described samples. Eleven studies had sample sizes of 50 or more. Nine had response rates of 50 per cent or more.
Observer-rated clinical outcomes: Participants showed improvements in symptoms and/or functioning at discharge and within the next four months (two high quality studies).
Self-reported outcomes: Between 33 per cent and 66 per cent of patients rated their admission as correct or necessary (two high-, two medium- and three low-quality studies). Three studies (one medium- and two low-quality studies) reported that 28 per cent to 48 per cent of participants believed they did not need hospital admission. Except for one low quality study, all studies assessing both positive and negative views reported the number of participants viewing their admission positively was higher than those with negative attitudes.
Between 39 per cent and 75 per cent of participants retrospectively stated that it was right that they had been involuntarily admitted and treated. Between 10 per cent and 47 per cent stated explicitly that their involuntary admission was unjustified (three medium- and four low-quality studies). Except for one medium-quality study, all studies assessing both positive and negative views reported the number of participants viewing their admission positively was higher than those with negative attitudes. Where reported, the association between participants' views and length of time since admission showed a trend towards more positive views over time.
From 39 per cent to 81 per cent of participants perceived their hospitalisation as helpful. Between six per cent and 33 per cent perceived no benefits or felt harmed by treatment (four medium- and five low-quality studies).
When asked to report if participants felt they had clinically improved after involuntary treatment, 68 per cent to 76 per cent reported they felt better (two high-quality studies).
From 46 per cent to 73 per cent of participants reported satisfaction with the treatment they received (two high- and one low-quality studies).
Predictors: One high-quality study found no significant differences in terms of age, gender and diagnosis between participants who did and did not report improvement. Two medium-quality studies reported inconclusive results in terms of predictor variables. Two medium-quality studies reported that patients with a greater clinical improvement tended to report more positive views on their hospitalisation.