Skip to main content

Social Support and Recovery in People with Serious Mental Illnesses

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

REFERENCES

  1. Anthony, W. A. (1993). Recovery from mental illness: The guiding vision of the mental health service system in the 1990's. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 16(4), 11–23.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barrera, M. (1986). Distinctions between social support concepts, measures, and models. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14(4), 413–445.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bengtsson-Tops, A. & Hansson, L. (2001). Quantitative and qualitative aspects of the social net-work in schizophrenic patients living in the community. Relationship to sociodemographic characteristics and clinical factors and subjective quality of life. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 47(3), 67–77.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Calabrese, J. D., & Corrigan, P. (in press). Beyond Dementia Praecox: Findings from long-term follow-up studies. In R. Ralph & P. Corrigan (Eds.), Recovery and Mental Illness: Consumer Visions and Research Paradigms. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

  5. Campbell, J., Johnsen, M., Lichtenstein, C., Noel, J. G., Yates, B., McDorel Herr, B., et al. (2003). The consumer-operated services program multi-site research initiative: Overview, participant characteristics, and lessons learned from the collaborative study context. Manuscript submitted to Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research.

  6. Campbell, J., & Schraiber, R. (1989). The Well-Being Project: Mental health clients speak for themselves: A report of a survey conducted for the California Department of Mental Health, Office of Prevention. Sacremento, CA: The California Network of Mental Health Clients.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Chamberlin, J. (1997, Fall/Winter). Confessions of a non-compliant patient. National Empowerment Center Newsletter.

  8. Corrigan, P., & Ralph, R. (in press). Recovery as consumer vision and research paradigm. In R. Ralph & P. Corrigan (Eds.), Recovery and Mental Illness: Consumer Visions and Research Paradigms. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

  9. Corrigan, P. W., Giffort, D., Rashid, F., Leary, M. & Okeke, I. (1999). Recovery as a psychological construct. Community Mental Health Journal, 35(3), 231–239.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Deegan, P. E. (1988). Recovery: The lived experience of rehabilitation. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 11,11–19.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Denoff, M. S. & Pilkonis, P. A. (1987). The social network of the schizophrenic: Patient and residential determinants. Journal of Community Psychology, 15(2), 228-244.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Erickson, D. H., Beiser, M., & Iacono, W. G. (1998). Social support predict 5-year outcome in 1st-episode schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107(4), 681–685.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Furukawa, T. A., Harai, H., Hirai, T., Kitamura, T., & Takahashi, K. (1999). Social support questionnaire among psychiatric patients with various diagnoses and normal controls. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 34(4), 213–222.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hansson, L., Middelboe, T., Sorgaard, K. W., Bengtsson-Tops, A., Bjarnason, O., Merinder, L., et al. (2002). Living situation, subjective quality of life and social network among individuals with schizophrenia living in community settings. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 106(5), 343–350.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Harding, C. M. (1988). Course types in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 14, 633–644.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Hogan, M. F. (2003). New Freedom Commission Report: The President's New Freedom Commission: Recommendations to transform mental health care in America. Psychiatric Services, 54, 1467–1474.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Leete, E. (1988). A consumer perspective on psychosocial treatment. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 12(2), 45–52.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Liberman, R. P., & Kopelowicz, A. (in press). Recovery from schizophrenia: A criterion-based definition. In R. Ralph & P. Corrigan (Eds.), Recovery and Mental Illness: Consumer Visions and Research Paradigms. Washinton, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

  19. Lipton, F. R., Cohen, C. I., Fischer, E., & Katz, S. E. (1981). Schizophrenia: A network crisis.Schizophrenia Bulletin, 7(1), 144–151.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Lukoff, D., Liberman, R. P., & Nuechterlein, K. H. (1986). Symptom monitoring in the rehabilitation of schizophrenic patients. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 12, 578–593.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Meeks, S. & Hammond, C. T. (2001). Social network characteristics among older outpatients with long-term mental illness. Journal of Mental Health and Aging, 7(4), 445–464.

    Google Scholar 

  22. New Freedom Commission on Mental Health: Achieving the promise: Transforming mental health care in America. Final report. (No. DHHS pub no SMA-03-3832)(2003). Rockville, Md: Department of Health and Human Services.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Pattison, E. M., Llamas, R., & Hurd, G. (1979). Social network mediation of anxiety. Psychiatric Annals, 9(9), 56–67.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Ralph, R. (2000). Recovery. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Skills, 4(3), 480–517.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Randolph, E. T. & Escobar, J. I. (1985). Social support, ethnicity, and schizophrenia. Los Angeles, CA: Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Rudnick, A. & Kravetz, S. (2001). The relation of social support-seeking to quality of life in schizophrenia. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189(4), 258–262.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Salokangas, R. K. R. (1997). Living situation, social network and outcome in schizophrenia: A five-year prospective follow-up study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 96(6), 459–468.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Sarason, B. R., Sarason, I. G., & Pierce, G. R. (1990). Social support: An interactional view. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Shrout, P. E. & Fleiss, J. L. (1979). Intraclass correlations: Uses in assessing rater reliability. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 420–428.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Sokolovsky, J. Cohen, C., Berger, D., & Geiger, J. (1978). Personal networks of ex-mental patients in a Manhattan SRO hotel. Human Oganization, 37(1), 5–15.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Stein, C. H., Rappaport, J., & Seidman, E. (1995). Assessing the social networks of people with psychiatric disability from multiple perspectives. Community Mental Health Journal, 31(4), 351–367.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Tolsdorf, C. C. (1976). Social networks, support, and coping: An exploratory study. Family Process, 15(4), 407–417.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Ventura, J., Green, M. F., Shaner, A., & Liberman, R. P. (1993). Training and quality assurance with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale: ''The drift busters.'' American Journal of Public Health, 3(4), 221–244.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Wojciechowska, A. Cechnicki, A., & Walczewski, K. (2002). Correlation between some features of social networks and treatment outcomes of schizophrenic patients three years after the first admission. A follow-up study. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 4(3), 37–46.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Corrigan, P.W., Phelan, S.M. Social Support and Recovery in People with Serious Mental Illnesses. Community Ment Health J 40, 513–523 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-004-6125-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Social Support
  • Social Network
  • Mental Illness
  • Research Participant
  • Psychiatric Symptom