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August 1971

"Routine" vs "Therapeutic" Transfer of Chronic Mental Patients

Author Affiliations

Decatur, Ill
From the Adolf Meyer Zone Center, Decatur, Ill, and the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;25(2):187-191. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750140091015

Comparative effects of interinstitutional transfer procedures were evaluated with three groups of patients (N = 15 each), equated on 12 variables, who received either (1) a transfer structured as a therapeutic experience, (2) transfer by routine procedures, or (3) no transfer for the duration of the study. Routine transfer practices resulted in a decrement in patient functioning at a four week posttransfer assessment, while the therapeutic transfer maintained level of functioning comparable to the no transfer controls. By a 22-week follow-up assessment, the differences between groups were no longer evident. Although the granting or withholding of transfers to new facilities for "therapeutic effect" per se is not indicated, therapeutic transfer procedures seem desirable for prophylactic and humane reasons. From a research standpoint, "therapeutic transfer" procedures, with appropriate evaluation of effects, are essential to prevent artifactual confounding of treatment evaluation.