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June 1969

Natural History of Mental Retardation in a State Hospital, Revisited: Releases and Deaths in Two Admission Groups, Ten Years Apart

Am J Dis Child. 1969;117(6):609-620. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100030611001

DURING the past decade, the Socio-Behavioral Laboratory of Pacific State Hospital examined several characteristics of hospitalized mentally retarded patients, and the natural history of their hospitalization.1-27 Some studies were based on groups of newly admitted patients (admission cohorts),1,2,4-7,9,13,15,17-20,24,25,27 others involved cross sections of populations.3,8,10-12,14,23,26 Some focused on releases from the hospital,3,4,8,10,11,14 others on mortality,5,15,27 or both.1,2,9,16 The changes in the composition of the patient population,18,23 the patterns of release,20 the effects of admission procedures6,7,12,13,18,21,22,24 and the efficacy of selected treatment programs19,25,26 were also evaluated. In most studies, new or modified methods of data analyses and related mathematical models were presented.

In 1957 and 1958 we reported on a four-year (1948 to 1952) admission cohort1,2 and related probabilities of release and death to age, intelligence quotient, and diagnosis. We found that: (1) younger and more severely retarded patients had a