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May 1972

Criteria for Involuntary Hospitalization

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, New York University and the Hospitalization Research Unit, Bellevue Hospital, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(5):399-404. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750230009002

Seven to eight lawyers have been actively involved in the decisionmaking of involuntary hospitalization at Bellevue Psychiatric Division in New York City since 1965. The result has been a dramatic increase of discharge rate among those patients who requested a court hearing, reaching as high as 50% in 1969. Controlled clinical evaluation reveals that "protection" and "dangerousness" are two major working criteria of involuntary hospitalization and need of psychiatric treatment is of secondary importance. Although discharged patients may have foregone a chance to receive treatment, the essential question of how substantial such therapeutic benefit would have been still remains unanswered.