Short‐term Involuntary Examination of Older Adults in Florida

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The elder population continues to grow rapidly in many countries. Florida's elder population is growing faster than most states', with over one‐quarter of the Florida population projected to be aged 65 and over by 2025. Involuntary examination (i.e. emergency commitment) under a state's civil commitment law is one means by which older adults experience assessment for acute mental health care. In Florida, the civil commitment law permits the involuntary examination of an individual for up to 72 hours to determine whether the person meets standards for involuntary treatment. From calendar year 2001 through 2005, there were 531,091 involuntary examinations in Florida for 301,886 people of all ages. Thirteen percent were 60 years and older at the time of their examination. The purpose of this paper is to describe the characteristics of older adults subject to involuntary examination and the nature of their examinations. While these data permit a number of inferences, there is an expansive area of research and policy analysis that remains untapped and would permit better understanding of how older adults experience such examinations. These research and policy issues will also be discussed.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Behavioral Sciences & the Law, v. 25, issue 5, p. 615-628