A Comparison of Youth Referred to Psychiatric Emergency Services: Police Versus Other
M. E. Evans and R. A. Boothroyd,
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
30(1): 74-80, 2002.
Although the presentation of children and adolescents to psychiatric emergency
services has been increasing, little is known about the characteristics of these persons, the
circumstances surrounding their referral for treatment, or their disposition. This study compares
patients referred by police with those referred by others, based on data from a study of 1,779 patients
in the Bronx, New York. Logistic regression was used to develop propensity scores for selection of
a matched sample of non-police referrals (n = 159) to compare with police referrals (n
= 53). Caregivers in police-referred cases were rated as less capable of active treatment
involvement, and domestic violence was more likely to occur in their homes. Police referrals had
higher substance use in the past month than referrals from other sources, were rated as more
symptomatic and dangerous to self and others, had exhibited more assaultive and destructive
behavior, and were less likely to be referred to outpatient services.