The handicap of the single as compared with the married state in respect of the first admission rates to mental hospitals has been demonstrated by several workers. Dayton (1939), Malzberg (1940) and 0degaard (1946), to mention but a few, have all shown that the admission rates for single persons are greater than those for married persons of the same age. Hospital first admission rates for mental disorders are more likely to give reliable estimates of the incidence of mental disease than are hospital rates for other types of illness, nevertheless hospital admissions are but a sample of the sick population in the community and, generally speaking, there is no means of knowing whether or not it is a representative sample of the total sick population. For this reason, in this paper it is only the effect of marital status on the hospital care of the mentally sick that it is to be considered. This appears to be a necessary restriction in view of the fact that the data analysed here relate only to hospital admissions, but ⊘degaard (1946) categorically stated, although his data, too, were derived from mental hospitals:
“It is shown beyond doubt that the incidence of mental disease is much higher in the single than in the married, and that this ‘predominance of the single’ among our insane is no statistical figment caused by such factors as differences in age distribution or in the tendency to hospitalize the insane.”
The purpose of this paper is not to discuss differential admission rates between single and married, although some data will be presented to show that the difference exists here as well as in Scandinavia and the United States, for I have dealt with that problem elsewhere.∗ The very great differences between the first admission rates for single and married persons led me to ask the question: “What other differences arise between single and married persons with respect to mental hospital care?” The data of a statistical study of mental hospital admissions which I have already completed provide some information on this point.