Characteristics of assaultive psychiatric inpatients in an era of managed care

Psychiatr Q. Fall 1999;70(3):247-56. doi: 10.1023/a:1022055211038.


Prior to managed care, extensive research documented the characteristics of assaultive inpatients in traditional state mental hospital settings as primarily older, male, psychotic patients with histories of violence toward others and of substance abuse. Recent early studies in rural and urban hospital settings have suggested that the characteristics of assaultive patients may be changing to include younger, more frequently female, patients with personality disorders and histories of personal victimization. This two-points-in-time study sought to assess the nature of assaultive patients in a suburban traditional state mental hospital after the implementation of managed care initiatives, and compared to the nature of the assaultive patients before and after the downsizing of this state mental health facility. Before census reduction, the assaultive patients were of the traditional type. After census reduction, the assaultive patients reflected more recent trends. The implications of the findings are discussed, and strategies for fostering facility safety in light of the newer violent patient are outlined.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, State / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Security Measures
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*