Title

Living in the Community with Serious Mental Illness: Community Integration Experiences of Clubhouse Members

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Psychology/Clinical

First Advisor

Catherine Stein, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Susan Huss, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Kenneth Shemberg, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer Gillespie, PhD (Committee Chair)

Abstract

Essential components of community integration of people coping with serious mental illness entails development of social relationships with the lager community of individuals who are not identified as coping with serious mental illness. However previous research on community integration has not made an attempt to understand how people coping with serious mental illness are differentially integrated with peer/consumer/client community versus their integration experiences with the larger non-client/consumer community. The present study used the context of psychosocial clubhouses to understand how program level, individual level and family level variables are differentially associated with perceived community integration within clubhouses versus outside with clubhouse with the larger non-client/consumer community. Data were collected from 92 adults coping with serious mental illness who were also members of psychosocial clubhouses in New York State. Findings of the present study indicate that members report greater degree of integration within the clubhouse as compared to social integration outside the clubhouse with members of the larger non-consumer/client community. Further, program level factors such as perceptions of the clubhouse environment as having a practical orientation were associated with reports of greater integration within the clubhouse but not outside the clubhouse. Conversely, level of employment, specifically independent level of employment, and feelings of self-worth were associated with greater integration outside the clubhouse but not within the clubhouse. Results also suggested that perceived family support was associated with integration within the clubhouse and outside the clubhouse with members of the larger non-consumer/client community. The findings are discussed with respect to their implications for community practice and directions for future research.