A profile of the noncompliant patient: a thirty-month review of outpatient psychiatry referrals

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1992 Mar;14(2):124-30. doi: 10.1016/0163-8343(92)90037-b.


Missed appointments to outpatient psychiatry programs have been identified as a major form of noncompliance in the literature. Over a two-and-a-half year period, 874 referrals to the outpatient psychiatry department of a large teaching hospital were examined for significant differences between compliant and noncompliant patients. Noncompliant patients comprised 17.8% of the total number of cases dispositions and were significantly more likely to be single, diagnosed personality disorder or substance abuse, and referred from the Emergency Department than complaint patients. Further analysis of emergency referrals, the single most significant predictor, indicated that patients from this referral source were more likely to be male, unmarried, unemployed or on welfare, and diagnosed personality disorder or substance abuse than referrals from general practice and internal sources. The results are discussed in light of previous research, and recommendations are made for increasing compliance to outpatient appointments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Countertransference
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Transference, Psychology
  • Treatment Refusal / psychology*