Which patients with non-affective functional psychosis are not admitted at first psychiatric contact?
D J Castle, M Phelan, S Wessely, R M Murray


BACKGROUND We wished to explore the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with admission to hospital in patients with a non-organic non-affective psychosis.

METHOD Subjects were 484 first-contact patients with a non-affective functional psychosis from an inner-city catchment area over 20 years from the mid-1960s. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with admission to hospital were analysed.

RESULTS Around 20% of patients were not admitted, and the proportion did not change significantly over the years. Ethnicity, sex, and marital and employment status did not predict admission. Factors associated with admission included police involvement, and violence to self or others. A diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, and persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations, and bizarre behaviour were all more common in patients admitted to hospital.

CONCLUSIONS The study indicates biases which might arise in research based exclusively on patients admitted to hospital.