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Exploring the Impact of Verbal Abuse on Recovery: A Mediation Study

Abstract

Objective

People with serious mental illnesses are exposed to high rates of verbal abuse. This study examines the impact of such experiences on loneliness and social support, which is hypothesized to ultimately diminish recovery.

Method

Fifty participants with serious mental illnesses reported on their experiences with verbal abuse, loneliness, social support, and recovery.

Results

Verbal abuse was found to be related to loneliness and social support, and both mediated the relationship between verbal abuse and recovery.

Conclusions and Implications for Practice

Verbal abuse is an all too common experience of people with serious mental illnesses that ultimately affects their recovery. Specifically, exposure to verbal abuse may impact recovery by increasing sense of loneliness and perceived social support. The implications are that a heightened awareness of verbal abuse and its impact on recovery should draw attention to interventions that decrease exposure and increase self-advocacy to combat negative outcomes.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by funding from Temple University Dean’s Award. Thanks to the community mental health organizations and consumers who partnered with us for this study and to Christopher Green and Jared Pryor who made this work possible.

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Correspondence to Mark S. Salzer.

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Salzer, M.S., Karni-Vizer, N. Exploring the Impact of Verbal Abuse on Recovery: A Mediation Study. Community Ment Health J 57, 994–999 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-020-00707-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-020-00707-3

Keywords

  • Verbal abuse
  • Exclusion
  • Loneliness
  • Social support
  • Recovery in mental health