Premature termination in day treatment: a comparative study of the outcome of chronic mental patients who drop out
Anderson, Richard Arthur
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A study was conducted to describe the outcome of chronic mental patients who terminated prematurely from a V.A. Day Treatment Program. Forty-one Day Treatment Program (DTP) clients were categorized as either program "remainers" or program "dropouts" according to whether they had completed six consecutive weeks in day treatment. Outcome was compared for the two groups using the dependent variables of (1) rehospitalization, (2) community tenure, (3) employment, (4) social adjustment, (5) utilization of community services and (6) overall community adjustment. Statistical analyses of the results indicated that DTP dropouts were readmitted to psychiatric hospitals sooner, more frequently, and for longer periods of time than program remainers. No statistically significant differences were found between groups using the variables of employment, social adjustment or overall community adjustment. DTP dropouts, however, did not reject aftercare treatment per se. Eighty-seven percent of the premature terminators joined other aftercare treatment programs and tended to remain in them. These findings identify premature terminators as being at high risk for relapse and contradict the myth that these clients are unmotivated for treatment.