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February 1972

Precipitating Stress, Crisis Theory, and Hospitalization in Schizophrenia and Depression

Author Affiliations

Cambridge, Mass
From the Department of Psychiatry, Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(2):123-129. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750200027006

In this study we examine the relationship between crisis theory and the life experience of 50 patients hospitalized on a general hospital short-term "crisis oriented" psychiatry service. Two specific hypotheses are tested. The results indicate that the concept of a precipitating situation is relevant to many patients. However, the concept that hospitalization usually follows a hazardous situation is not well substantiated by our data. Schizophrenics, especially, are hospitalized in the absence of a clear, hazardous precipitant. For depressed patients, there is typically a clear precipitant, and the precipitant was judged to be hazardous for ten of 21 patients.

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