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April 1969

Social Characteristics and Patient Expectations Toward Mental Hospitalization

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(4):457-469. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740160073011

IN reviewing the literature on the mental patient and the mental hospital, it becomes apparent that most of our knowledge of the patient in the hospital setting has been based solely upon inferences drawn from a small number of observations. The patients themselves and the way in which they view their hospitalization have not been systematically studied. For example, the early studies of Belknap,1 Dunham and Weinberg,2 Caudill,3 and Stanton and Schwartz4 analyzed the mental hospital within an organizational framework, focusing on the structure and functioning of the hospital as a closed social system. Although incidents and anecdotes about the patients they observed were often reported, no clues were given as to how typical or representative their observations were of the total hospital population. In addition, their conception of the patient in the hospital setting was a passive one, viewing the patient as a powerless agent who

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