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The Impact of Deinstitutionalization on California's State Hospital Population
William DeRisi; William A. Vega
Psychiatric Services 1983; doi:
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Research and Evaluation Branch of the California Department of Mental Health

Graduate School of Public Health of San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182

1983 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Deinstitutionalization has dramatically reduced the state psychiatric hospital population in California from 37,000 in 1955 to only 2,500 at the present time. In 1980 and 1982 the California Department of Mental Health conducted two surveys to assess demographic characteristics, psychiatric diagnosis, health status, and behavioral traits of state hospital patients. The results indicate that most patients are young, male, and diagnosed as schizophrenic and frequently engage in dangerous behaviors. The various patient subpopulations exhibited few differences in diagnostic distribution, although Hispanics did have a significantly higher rate of substance use. The author posits that the current hospital population constitutes a "hard core" of patients who may be difficult to place in community treatment facilities.

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