A controlled comparison of involuntarily hospitalized medication refusers and acceptors.

S. Levin, J. S. Brekke and P. Thomas,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 19(2): 161-71, 1991.
Involuntarily hospitalized psychiatric patients consecutively admitted over a six-month period who successfully refused medication (n = 37) are compared with a randomly selected group of medication-accepting patients committed during the same time period (n = 37). The overall refusal rate was 15.6 percent during the study period. Acceptors and refusers did not differ on age, sex, diagnosis, ethnicity, marital status, or preadmission living status. Differences between the groups indicate that refusers are sicker and lower functioning, are more behaviorally acute on the ward, and stay in the hospital twice as long as acceptors. Refusers also have a significantly negative impact on the overall ward milieu. The impact of institutional factors on the rate and outcome from mediation refusal are discussed.