To commit or not to commit: the psychiatry resident as a variable in involuntary commitment decisions

Acad Psychiatry. 2006 May-Jun;30(3):191-5. doi: 10.1176/appi.ap.30.3.191.


Objective: To study whether psychiatry residents' personal variables (such as age, gender, level of training, previous experience with patient suicide, or lawsuits) and their temperamental predispositions have an impact on their decisions to seek involuntary commitment.

Method: In a prospective pilot study, all psychiatry residents in Massachusetts were surveyed using a questionnaire that assessed their risk-taking behavior and clinical vignettes of patients with risk of harm to self or others. Data were analyzed using chi-squares and t tests.

Results: Level of training and the residents' risk-taking behavior may be linked to their likelihood to seek involuntary commitment.

Conclusions: Psychiatric residency training should address nonpatient variables that might inappropriately influence the residents' decisions to seek involuntary commitment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / statistics & numerical data*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires