Recent research on hospital tenure has neglected mental patients'
attitudes toward hospitalization. The authors consider problems with past
research on these attitudes and examine "living preference"--the patient's
preference for living in the hospital or the community. Assessments of
patients' living preferences were obtained from clinicians working with 187
chronically mentally ill patients in a state hospital aftercare program.
These assessments strongly predicted both components of hospital
tenure--rehospitalization and in-hospital days--during a 1-year follow-up.
The authors point out the conceptual, heuristic, and practical clinical
advantages of examining living preference rather than traditional
correlates of hospital tenure.