The environmental psychology of the hospital: Is the cure worse than the illness?

Gary H. Winkel, Charles J. Holahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This paper presents a framework and summarizes evidence bearing on the role that the physical environment plays in the prevention and reduction of psychological and social problems encountered by patients in acute care and psychiatric institutions. Factors that are considered important to preventive strategies include issues such as the spatial layout and design of hospital environments, privacy problems, personal control and independence, information interventions, hospital social relationships, and levels of environmental stimulation. Two case studies are utilized to illustrate these issues within the context of both acute care and psychiatric facilities in a large municipal hospital. Greatest emphasis is placed on the use of the physical environment in the promotion of primary and secondary prevention within tertiary care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-33
Number of pages23
JournalPrevention in Human Services
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


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