The influence of staff-resident interaction on the power of residents in the psychiatric halfway houses in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

The influence of staff-resident interaction on the power of residents in the psychiatric halfway houses in Hong Kong

 

Author: Chan, Lai-fun Antonia
Title: The influence of staff-resident interaction on the power of residents in the psychiatric halfway houses in Hong Kong
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1998
Subject: Mentally ill -- China -- Hong Kong
Mental health personnel -- China -- Hong Kong
Halfway houses -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: v, 136 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1436976
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/578
Abstract: While the international mental health services move towards deinstitutionalization and community care, mental health services in Hong Kong still remain institutionalized. Psychiatric outpatients are kept in institution-like community services, isolating in the community instead of integrating into the community. Psychiatric halfway houses are one of the dominant community services in Hong Kong. Psychiatric outpatients in institution-like psychiatric halfway houses are in a powerless position. In the psychiatric halfway houses, the most crucial factor that affects the power of the residents was the staff-resident interaction. This study attempts to explore the influence of the staff-resident interaction on the power of the residents in the psychiatric halfway houses. The study adopted in-depth interviews with semi-structured interview guide as the research method. Nine in-depth interviews were conducted in two psychiatric halfway houses. Findings showed that the source of power in the psychiatric halfway houses was the authority system. The staff exercised their power when they exercised their authority. They exercised their authority by exercising the house rules and regulations, by interpreting the authority system and the house rules and regulations, and by making up the authority system. In following the house rules and regulations, the staff and residents interacted in a depowering process. In react to the unbalance of power, the residents had such explicit reactions as conformity, compliance, alienation and rebellion. But the residents tried to obtain their power through implicit means such as testing limits, building up informal relationship with staff, finding loopholes in the authority system and doing things in their own ways. As a consequence, negative effects of depowerment overrode the positive ways of empowerment in the psychiatric halfway houses. The findings provide implications firstly on the concepts and practice of empowerment, secondly on government policy, and finally on future research.

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