August 10, 1963

The mental patient comes home

Author Affiliations

Morgantown, W.Va.


By Howard E. Freeman and Ozzie G. Simmons. 309 pp. $7.95. John Wiley & Sons, 440 Park Ave S, New York 16, 1963

JAMA. 1963;185(6):546-547. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060060144038

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Despite the popular sounding title, this is a very serious book about a very serious problem. The authors believe that the major mental health problem of today is what to do about the post-hospital patient. Accordingly they completed a systematic follow-up study of 649 functional (ie, nonorganic) psychotic patients in the prime of life (20 to 69) over a period of one year after discharge. The patients were dischargees of nine Massachusetts State and three Veterans Administration (mental) hospitals.

The risk of returning to the hospital during this period was great: 36% of male and 40% of female patients were readmitted, and there was no indication that rate of return would decrease after this period. The authors found that, contrary to their expectation, the place of role theory in explaining deviant posthospital behavior was disappointing. While a correlation between successful community tenure and levels of social and work performance was

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