The impact of broadened civil commitment standards on admissions to state mental hospitals

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Commitment of Mentally Ill; Deinstitutionalization; Female; Hospitalization; Hospitals, Psychiatric; Hospitals, Public; Hospitals, State; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; *Mentally Ill Persons; Public Opinion; Seasons; Washington


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


In 1979, the state of Washington broadened its criteria governing the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill. This study examined the impact of the revised law on involuntary and voluntary admissions and on the type of patient admitted to state hospitals in Washington. The short-term effect of the law was an abrupt increase in involuntary commitments, with a concomitant but not offsetting decline in voluntary admissions. Although the law resulted in a substantial change in admissions policy, it does not appear to have altered the type of patient admitted to state mental hospitals in Washington.

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Citation: Am J Psychiatry. 1985 Jan;142(1):104-7.

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