In this the first of a projected series of four works from the Langley Porter Institute Studies of Aging, the main concern is with the decision that leads the aged to the state hospital. Implicit in the study is the view, with which we concur, that such hospitalization is generally destructive to this population. What makes this sociological inquiry of wider interest to the behavioral scientist is that Mrs. Lowenthal and her collaborators have set for themselves the elusive goal of why people become state hospital patients imprimus. This is noteworthy for there are few systematic investigations of that moment in time . .. the decision when a person becomes a patient.
Having access to a one year sample of all the aged, ie, 60 years or over, admitted to the psychiatric receiving hospital for the first time in the San Francisco area, interviews were conducted with family members, important supportive