ERIC Number: ED156958
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Dangerousness, Stress and Mental Health Evaluations.
Levinson, Richard M.; Ramsay, Georgeann
Many jurisdictions require psychiatrists to assess patient "dangerousness" in the process of involuntary hospitalization. Considerable research indicates that psychiatric prediction of dangerous behavior is rather inaccurate, the principal error being one of overprediction. Inaccuracy may result, in part, from the psychiatrist's role in the health care organization. The Mental Health Associate (MHA) role, not sharing some of these structural disadvantages, is hypothesized to yield more accurate predictions of patient "dangerousness." However, a follow-up study of clients originally assessed on potential dangerousness indicated MHA predictions did not significantly differentiate between those actually manifesting dangerous behavior and those who did not. Further investigation revealed that incidence of stress events was significantly associated with the occurrence of dangerous behavior during the follow-up period and influences the accuracy of MHA assessments. MHA predictions significantly differentiate those manifesting dangerous behavior and those who do not when stress is low during the follow-up period. Under high stress conditions, MHA predictions are less accurate. Implications for the process of attributing dangerousness for involuntary commitment are discussed. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD. Center for Studies of Crime and Delinquency.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, California, September 5-9, 1977)