Concerns raised in response to proposals that general hospitals admit
patients who currently receive acute care in state hospitals have focused
primarily on certain assumptions about the characteristics of involuntary
patients in contrast to their voluntary counterparts. The author compared a
group of voluntary and involuntary patients in seven state hospitals.
Contrary to some recent reports, legal status was not associated with
chronicity, prevalence of psychosis, extent of social ties as measured by
marital status and living situation, or need for seclusion or restraint.
The two groups differed significantly in median length of stay but in an
opposite direction from that previously reported.