First Advisor

Hugo Maynard

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Mentally ill, Mentally ill -- Commitment and detention, Psychiatric hospitals -- Admission and discharge



Physical Description

1 online resource, digitized manuscript.


A comparison of the voluntary and involuntary patients at Dammasch State Hospital, Wilsonville, Oregon. A representative sample of cases over time, were chosen for the year 1976, 72 voluntary and 72 involuntary patients. One-hundred and twelve variables were coded onto sheets for each patient. The variables concerned marital status, job history, history of violent acts, present living situations and relationships, as well as drug history and diagnosis and treatment in the hospital. The data were coded onto cards and a computer analysis was done using Factor and Discriminant Function Analysis. It was hypothesized the populations of persons voluntarily admitted and involuntarily committed would be different in several ways. (A) The population of involuntarily committed persons would have more anti-social aggression in their histories. This hypothesis was partially supported by the data. The involuntarily committed had a significantly higher incidence of being under a current legal charge at the time of commitment. There was no significant difference between the two populations in the number of previous incarcerations or on 'violence committed within the family'. (B) Persons involuntarily committed would have significantly fewer relationships with persons in the community and fewer ties to persons they support financially or emotionally or that support them emotionally or financially. This hypothesis was partly supported by the data. The two populations were approximately equal on all the variables of relationship and living conditions except 'lives with mate'; for this variable the voluntary patients had a higher score. (C) Involuntarily committed persons would have less successful job histories. None of the items of the job history were significantly different in the two populations. (D) The involuntary population was more likely to have alcoholism as a secondary diagnosis. The voluntary population was more likely to have alcoholism as a primary diagnosis. This hypothesis was not clearly supported by the data. It was found that the voluntary population was more likely to abuse alcohol and the involuntary population was more likely to use alcohol. (E) The involuntary population was more likely to have experienced violence in their homes, while children. There were insufficient data in the hospital records concerning childhood to test this hypothesis.

In the factor which contained the variable 'commitment' there were no elements of a history of dangerousness. The only significant correlation with commitment was 'prescription of phenothiazines in the hospital'; this result may point to the use of drugs as 'chemical restraints'. No other variable which indicated relationships, job history, social status, or dangerousness correlated significantly with commitment. These were the most important findings in the study.


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