, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 513-523

Social Support and Recovery in People with Serious Mental Illnesses

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between objective and subjective measures of social support with recovery from serious mental illness; recovery has been described as both an outcome state and an ongoing process. One hundred and seventy six people with serious mental illness completed the Recovery Assessment Scale, a process measure of recovery that assessed, among other factors, personal confidence, goal orientation, and non-domination by symptoms. They also were administered the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, a semi-structured interview that assesses psychiatric symptom and represents recovery as an outcome. Finally, research participants completed the Social Network Scale, which assessed size of the overall network plus such important subnetworks as family, friends, and health professionals. The SNS also provided measures of the perceived satisfaction with, mutuality in, and obligation towards individuals in their support network. Results showed people with larger overall network size and more network satisfaction were likely to report higher factors on the Recovery Assessment Scale. For the most part, network size and satisfaction was not significantly associated with psychiatric symptoms. Implications of these findings for better understanding the association between social support and recovery are discussed.