Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 39–56 | Cite as

An Empirical Assessment of Rural Community Support Networks for Individuals with Severe Mental Disorders

  • Bruce J. Fried
  • Matthew C. Johnsen
  • Barbara E. Starrett
  • Michael O. Calloway
  • Joseph P. Morrissey


The community support network has beenwell-established as a requirement for communitytreatment of individuals with severe mental disorders.This network generally consists of a multidisciplinaryset of organizations that interrelate in some mannerwith individuals in the community. The question ofcoordination within this network has been muchdiscussed; however little published research hasempirically examined the types and extent of coordinationamong network organizations. In particular, littleattention has been given to community support networksin rural communities. In each of seven rural counties, information was obtained on interactions amongorganizations in the community support network. Thesenetworks were analyzed to yield information on networkdensity and centralization. Using measures of centrality, the most central organizations ineach network were identified. Exchanges of informationwere the most common type of interaction amongorganizations in each network. Client referrals occurred less frequently, and sharing of resources wasan even rarer phenomenon. Network analysis of communitysupport networks provides an objective perspective onthe structure of community support networks. An understanding of exchange among organizationswithin these networks is of value to administrators,clinicians, and planners interested in achieving greatereffectiveness, as well as to patients, their families, and advocacy groups concerned with access andquality of care.


Public Health Mental Disorder Health Psychology Network Analysis Common Type 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce J. Fried
  • Matthew C. Johnsen
  • Barbara E. Starrett
  • Michael O. Calloway
  • Joseph P. Morrissey

There are no affiliations available

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