In this study we examine the relationship between crisis theory and the life experience of 50 patients hospitalized on a general hospital short-term "crisis oriented" psychiatry service. Two specific hypotheses are tested. The results indicate that the concept of a precipitating situation is relevant to many patients. However, the concept that hospitalization usually follows a hazardous situation is not well substantiated by our data. Schizophrenics, especially, are hospitalized in the absence of a clear, hazardous precipitant. For depressed patients, there is typically a clear precipitant, and the precipitant was judged to be hazardous for ten of 21 patients.