Since the implementation of deinstitutionalization policies began in the early 1960s, large numbers of patients have been discharged from state mental hospitals to the community. Given the negative aspects of institutional life, it was assumed that patients would rather live in the community than remain confined in a state mental hospital. However, little is known about the actual preferences of discharged mental patients. In interviews with 176 patients an average of one year after their release from three state mental hospitals in Massachusetts, the author found that one-fourth indicated a desire to return to the hospital at some time since release. Significant factors associated with the patients' desire to return included self-image, relationships with others, and use of leisure time. The study results suggest that aftercare programs have not adequately met the needs of these patients.