Confidentiality in psychiatry: a study of the patient's view

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Aged; *Confidentiality; Humans; Information Dissemination; Mental Disorders; *Mentally Ill Persons; Middle Aged; Mood Disorders; *Professional-Patient Relations; Psychotherapy; Schizophrenia; Substance-Related Disorders


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The views of patients on the degree of confidentiality that is necessary for effective psychiatric care have not been empirically investigated, despite their potential importance to the debate. This study examines the views of 30 psychiatric inpatients on issues related to confidentiality. Patients were found to value confidentiality highly and to be concerned about the possibility of unauthorized disclosures but to have little knowledge of their legal rights or recourses should breaches of confidentiality occur. The data support contentions about the importance of confidentiality and suggest the need for further patient education.

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Citation: Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1983 Apr;34(4):353-5.

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