Will mental patients stay in the community? A social psychological perspective

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For 110 functionally psychotic patients capable of leaving the hospital (mean age 40.3 yrs), information about living preferences was obtained from 3 different perspectives--that of ward technicians, social workers, and an outside rater evaluating a patient interview. A sizable proportion of the patients felt attractions toward hospital living. Living preferences showed strong relations to past community tenure (time spent in community during the 12 mo prior to interview) and to prospective community tenure (time spent in community during the 9 mo following interview) and even predicted prospective community tenure with past community tenure held constant. Possible alternative explanations in terms of “institutionalism,” bias from knowledge of past hospitalization, and severity of illness were found implausible. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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