The Nature and Dimensions of Social Support Among Individuals with Severe Mental Illnesses
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Recent research suggests that social support is associated with recovery from chronic diseases, greater life satisfaction, and enhanced ability to cope with life stressors. To further research in the area of social support and serious psychiatric disabilities, more reliable and valid measures are needed to assess this construct. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychometric properties of a widely used measure of social support (the Interpersonal Support Evaluation Checklist) among people with severe mental illness. We collected data on the ISEL's relationship to quality of life, self-esteem, psychiatric symptoms and vocational status among 147 participants. Factor and reliability analyses, as well as correlational analyses were undertaken. We found evidence for the reliability and validity of the ISEL when used with persons with severe mental illness. Taken together, our findings suggested that self-esteem, quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms were able to predict 38% of the variance in perceived social support. More favorable social supports increased the odds of being employed at 9months into the study and social support was predictive of experiencing fewer psychiatric symptoms. Some forms of social support were perceived less favorably with age, but no other demographic or clinical variables significantly predicted perceived social supports.
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