Psychiatrists' attitudes toward involuntary hospitalization

Psychiatr Serv. 2004 Sep;55(9):1058-60. doi: 10.1176/


This study examined whether psychiatrists' attributions of responsibility for mental illnesses affect their decisions about involuntary hospitalization. A survey that was mailed in 2002 to members of the Illinois Psychiatric Society elicited recommendations for involuntary commitment for vignette characters. The survey also sought respondents' attributions of personal responsibility for the onset and recurrence of mental illnesses. A total of 432 psychiatrists responded to the survey. Decisions to involuntarily hospitalize persons with mental illness increased significantly with the level of risk of harm and varied significantly between psychiatric diagnoses. Attributions of responsibility were not related to commitment decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bipolar Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatry*
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires