A mirror-image analysis of psychiatric hospitalisations among people with severe mental illness using Independent Supported Housing

Adamus, Christine; Zürcher, Simeon Joel; Richter, Dirk (2022). A mirror-image analysis of psychiatric hospitalisations among people with severe mental illness using Independent Supported Housing BMC Psychiatry, 22(1), pp. 1-10. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12888-022-04133-5

ISH Mirror Image BMC.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (1MB) | Preview

Background: Evidence on the effectiveness of Independent Supported Housing (ISH) for non-homeless people with severe mental illness primarily comes from observational cohort studies, which have high risk of bias due to confounding by time-invariant sample characteristics. The present study proposes an alternative study design known from pharmacology to overcome this bias and strengthen evidence. Methods: We conducted a retrospective mirror-image analysis with medical records of 144 ISH service users to assess the effectiveness of ISH in reducing the number and duration of hospitalisations. Outcomes occurring in equal periods before and during ISH utilisation were compared for every ISH user. Differences between the periods were tested with incidence rate ratios (IRR). Results: Included service users were on average 38.2 years old, female (54%) and predominately had an affective (28.5%) or a schizophrenic or psychotic (22.9%) disorder with ISH utilisation days ranging from 36–960. Fewer admissions (IRR = 0.41, 95%-CI 0.27–0.64) and fewer person-days hospitalised (IRR = 0.38, 95%-CI 0.35–0.41) were observed during ISH utilisation compared to prior to their ISH utilisation. While the reduction in psychiatric admissions may be somewhat confounded by time-variant characteristics, the substantial reduction in hospitalised bed-bays represents at least partially an intervention effect. Conclusions: The mirror-image study design allowed for a cost-effective investigation of ISH effectiveness in reducing hospitalisation without confounding by time-invariant sample characteristics. We provide recommendations for the design’s application and suggest further research with larger samples.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Nursing


Adamus, Christine;
Zürcher, Simeon Joel and
Richter, Dirk0000-0002-6215-6110


R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine




BioMed Central




Dirk Richter

Date Deposited:

26 Aug 2022 10:34

Last Modified:

26 Aug 2022 10:34

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Article number: 492

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Independent Supported Housing, Mirror-image study design, Severe mental illness, Psychiatric hospitalisations





Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Provide Feedback