March 1988

Excess Mortality Among Formerly Hospitalized Child Psychiatric Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Kuperman and Black) and Environmental Health (Dr Burns), University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(3):277-282. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800270095011

• Mortality was investigated in 881 male and 450 female formerly hospitalized child psychiatric patients in a four- to 15-year follow-up. Death from natural causes was not increased, but death from unnatural causes occurred at a rate more than twice as high as expected based on age- and sex-matched comparisons with the general population of the state of Iowa. Increased risk of unnatural death was found in five of eight psychiatric diagnostic categories but was significant only for Mental Reasoning, a category that combined patients with organic mental disorders, schizophrenia, or mental retardation. Clinical variables associated with an excess rate of unnatural death included age 15 years or older at the time of admission, the absence of a second psychiatric diagnosis, the presence of previous psychiatric hospitalizations, and the presence of a seizure disorder. Among the 23 unnatural deaths, the 11 (47.8%) suicides were excessive, but accidents and homicides were not.