Effects of Social Networks on Physical Health Among People with Serious Mental Illness

Effects of Social Networks on Physical Health Among People with Serious Mental Illness This study examined the effects of social network characteristics on physical health among people with serious mental illness using social transactions that are reciprocal, and the combination of objective and subjective health measures. The sample consisted of a probability sample of 231 adults with serious mental illness who resided in permanent supportive housing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Path analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between social network characteristics and two aspects of medical comorbidity, objective health and subjective health. Bivariate statistics showed that individuals with medical comorbidity were more likely to have contact with their network members and had a higher level of reciprocal positive tangible support when compared to those who did not have medical comorbidity. The results of the path analyses revealed that none of the social network characteristics were associated with better physical health. The lack of a significant relationship between social networks and better physical health is contrary to prior research findings. However, this is the first study to include both types of social transactions simultaneously as predictors of better physical health for individuals with serious mental illness. A longitudinal study would provide more insight into the temporal relationship of social networks and physical health conditions of people with serious mental illness. Furthermore, the transactional nature of social relationships, particularly for those with mental health issues, requires greater exploration. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychiatric Quarterly Springer Journals

Effects of Social Networks on Physical Health Among People with Serious Mental Illness

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Medicine & Public Health; Psychiatry; Public Health; Sociology, general
ISSN
0033-2720
eISSN
1573-6709
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11126-014-9306-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study examined the effects of social network characteristics on physical health among people with serious mental illness using social transactions that are reciprocal, and the combination of objective and subjective health measures. The sample consisted of a probability sample of 231 adults with serious mental illness who resided in permanent supportive housing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Path analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between social network characteristics and two aspects of medical comorbidity, objective health and subjective health. Bivariate statistics showed that individuals with medical comorbidity were more likely to have contact with their network members and had a higher level of reciprocal positive tangible support when compared to those who did not have medical comorbidity. The results of the path analyses revealed that none of the social network characteristics were associated with better physical health. The lack of a significant relationship between social networks and better physical health is contrary to prior research findings. However, this is the first study to include both types of social transactions simultaneously as predictors of better physical health for individuals with serious mental illness. A longitudinal study would provide more insight into the temporal relationship of social networks and physical health conditions of people with serious mental illness. Furthermore, the transactional nature of social relationships, particularly for those with mental health issues, requires greater exploration.

Journal

Psychiatric QuarterlySpringer Journals

Published: Jun 21, 2014

References

  • Serious mental illness and physical health problems: A discussion paper
    Robson, D; Gray, R
  • Medical comorbidity in women and men with schizophrenia
    Carney, CP; Jones, LE; Woolson, RF

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