Involuntary hospitalization is the legally authorized admission of an individual with a mental health disorder to an inpatient facility, without the person’s consent, for protective purposes. Such forced institutional care occupies a space at the confluence of numerous topics within abnormal and clinical psychology, including the law, mental health disorders, dangerousness, assessment, and treatment. This entry provides a brief overview of relevant history; legal authorities, requirements, and procedures; and the common types of involuntarily hospitalized patients. Coverage focuses on the U.S. model, which is characterized by the development of rigorous procedural protections and delineated populations eligible for involuntary hospitalization. Many involuntary hospitalization schemes outside the United States are less legalistic and more paternalistic.


The history of involuntary hospitalization has vacillated over time between libertarian and ...

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