June 1977

A Comparison of Voluntary and Committed Psychiatric Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(6):669-676. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770180055004

• This study compares a set of voluntary and committed patients. At the time of hospitalization, the committed patients had fewer social and economic resources and more serious impairments. In general, the type of hospitalization appeared to be primarily a consequence of the nature and severity of the patient's disorder. In the hospital the two sets of patients received fairly comparable treatment and the differences that did occur would appear to be attributable to a difference in the patients' disorders. Both types of patients experienced some improvement following hospitalization in their instrumental roles, and a very discernible improvement in their interpersonal roles. As the very slight differences between the two types of patients tended to favor the committed patients it seems quite clear that the commitment process did not have long detrimental effects.