LEGAL PRIVACY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PRIVACY: AN EVALUATION OF COURT ORDERED DESIGN STANDARDS (ENVIRONMENTAL, PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS, ARCHITECTURE).
AuthorO'REILLY, JOSEPH MATTHEW.
KeywordsPrivacy, Right of -- United States.
Civil rights -- United States.
Social psychology -- United States.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe legal system and the social sciences share an interest in privacy but have developed separate conceptualizations of the concept. The result is two similar but conflicting theories of privacy that make different assumptions about how people behave and how that behavior can be controlled. The purpose of this study was to begin testing these theories by examining the operationalization of privacy through mandated standards intended to ensure privacy for the mentally ill. Specifically, the standards set in Wyatt v. Stickney, which reflect the idea that privacy is a sphere of space free from outside intrusion, were examined to see if they did indeed ensure privacy. Using two units in a facility that met the standards mandated by the court in Wyatt v. Stickney, the research examined staff and patient perceptions of privacy. Thirty-five patients were interviewed and twenty-four staff completed questionnaires on the overall habitability of the unit and patient privacy. Results indicated that the Wyatt court's operationalization of privacy as primarily a visual phenomena was inadequate and although the specific standards ordered to ensure privacy were reported to be effective by a simple majority of patients, overall patients reported a lack of privacy. Staff responses were generally in agreement with patients but they tended to use more extreme or stronger ratings. The present study also has implications for the legal conceptualization of privacy. It was found that privacy was perceived as important by patients; that autonomy as evidenced by control was an important issue for a minority of patients; and, the right of selective disclosure was not a major concern of patients. Needed future areas of research that were identified included: comparing privacy ratings across a variety of group living situations, comparing the mentally ill's conceptualizations of privacy from others, determining the effect of privacy on the therapeutic goals of an institution and therapeutic outcome and, determine the relative importance of privacy to the mentally ill.