April 1979

Patients' Requests of an Outpatient Clinic

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and the Emergency Psychiatric Services, Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles (Drs Burgoyne and Staples); University of California at Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute (Dr Yamamoto); University of Southern California, Los Angeles (Dr Wolkon); and University of California, Irvine (Dr Kline).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(4):400-403. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780040042004

Three-hundred-twenty-five consecutive predominantly lowerclass new patients at a psychiatric outpatient clinic rated the importance they attached to each of 14 categories of treatment needs or requests. Psychiatric residents subsequently rated the importance of each request for each patient at the conclusion of their initial assessment interview. Requests reflecting needs for intrapsychic therapy, clarification, and control of feelings were considered very important by approximately two thirds of the patients; needs for institutionalized contact, advice, and community triage by one half; and other requests for medication, reality contact, succorance, ventilation, confession, social intervention, administrative requests by a minority (one fourth to one third). Residents significantly underestimated the importance their patients attached to 10 of 14 requests. Factor analyses confirmed several systematic sources of disparity between patient and therapist perception of lower-class patient needs.