The authors report the latest findings from a 32-year longitudinal study
of 269 back-ward patients from Vermont State Hospital. This intact cohort
participated in a comprehensive rehabilitation program and was released to
the community in a planned deinstitutionalization effort during the
mid-1950s. At their 10-year follow-up mark, 70% of these patients remained
out of the hospital but many were socially isolated and many were
recidivists. Twenty to 25 years after their index release, 262 of these
subjects were blindly assessed with structured and reliable protocols.
One-half to two-thirds of them had achieved considerable improvement or
recovery, which corroborates recent findings from Europe and elsewhere.