Perceived statutory applicability versus clinical desirability of emergency involuntary hospitalization

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Apr;137(4):476-80. doi: 10.1176/ajp.137.4.476.


The authors used a questionnaire survey conducted by mail in 1975 to assess psychiatrists' perceptions of the applicability of two jurisdictions' statutes for emergency involuntary hospitalization and the desirability of such hospitalization in four case vignettes. The great majority of the 287 respondents agreed that the statutes were applicable and hospitalization was desirable for individuals who were at risk for suicide and who were psychotic. Most of them also agreed that such hospitalization was neither legally applicable nor desirable for nonpsychotic, nonsuicidal people. Their perceptions of applicability versus desirability differed, however, regarding people who were nonsuicidal but psychotic or nonpsychotic but suicidal.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Forensic Psychiatry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology