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Article   |    
Characteristics Associated With Change in the Legal Status of Involuntary Psychiatric Patients
Robert A. Nicholson
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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Department of psychology at the University of Tulsa

© 1988 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Patients initially admitted to a state hospital under an emergency commitment procedure were studied to identify the variables associated with their later change to voluntary status, release, or judicial commitment, and to compare the hospitalization and outcome patterns of voluntary and committed patients. Compared with committed or voluntary patients, released patients were younger and better educated; were more likely to be employed at admission, to contribute to family income, and to have had previous outpatient treatment; and were less likely to have serious organic or psychotic disorders or to receive government assistance. Voluntary patients were hospitalized twice as long as committed patients and were less frequently considered to have received maximum benefits from hospitalization. In view of the association between voluntary status and longer hospitalization, periodic review may be needed to safeguard these patients from unnecessary confinement.

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