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May 1975

Labeling Effects in Psychiatric Hospitalization: A Study of Diverging Patterns of Inpatient Self-Labeling Processes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Sociology, Wayne State University, Detroit.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975;32(5):562-568. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760230028002

This report explores two theoretical positions regarding psychiatric inpatient self-labeling processes over time. One position suggests that acceptance of the deviant label "mentally ill" is benign; the other suggests that such label acceptance may be harmful to patients. Employing empirical, longitudinal data from a sample of 43 inpatients, three complex, but discernible, patterns of "acceptance," "rejection," or "denial" of the "deviant" label of mental patient emerged over time within a short-term hospital setting.

The three patient groups varied on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory scales, staff behavioral ratings over time, involvement in approved ward activities, and length of hospitalization. Results were discussed in terms of patient-staff interaction and its possible relation to patient self-labeling.

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