State hospital patients and their medication--do they know what they take

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Age Factors; Aged; *Comprehension; Female; Hospitals, Psychiatric; Hospitals, State; Humans; *Informed Consent; Length of Stay; Male; Mental Disorders; *Mentally Ill Persons; Middle Aged; Patient Compliance; Psychotropic Drugs


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


The author surveyed the population of a state hospital (N = 281) to ascertain the level of knowledge patients had about their medication. Approximately 8% of the patients correctly indicated the name of at least one medication they were taking, its dosage schedule, and its intended effect; approximately 54% of the patients evidenced no understanding of the medication they were regularly taking. Significant differences in understanding of medication were found as a function of diagnosis, age, and length of stay. The finding that few patients were knowledgeable about their medication raises doubts about recent court rulings on patients' competency to refuse medication.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Am J Psychiatry. 1982 May;139(5):611-5.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID