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Title:Social Networks, Social Support and Psychological Adjustment Among Participants in a Mutual Help Organization for the Mentally Ill
Author(s):Stein, Catherine Helene
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:The present research uses social network analysis as a framework in which to study relationships between the structure of the social environment, perceptions of social support and current psychological and social functioning for individuals with a history of severe psychopathology. The sample consisted of 97 men and women seeking participation in a mutual-help organization for individuals with serious mental illness. Respondents completed a self-report interview designed to obtain information about both their total networks (i.e. all persons named by the respondent) and helping networks (i.e. those persons who are specifically seen by the respondent as "helpers") and to determine the relative contribution of each type of network to perceived social support. Respondents were then grouped according to patterns of network characteristics considered simultaneously. Relationship quality and mental health indices were used to distinguish between the groups. The association between self-report network data and data obtained from key network members was also examined.
Findings indicate that helping network characteristics and not total network properties accounted for the largest variation in social support indices. Compared to respondents with other types of helping network configurations, respondents with large, dense, professional helping networks reported their social relationships as being intimate, but nonreciprocal. Respondents with small, dense, friend networks reported more positive evaluations of help, less reliance on helpers and better social adjustment in relation to other respondent groups. Data from multiple perspectives revealed individual differences in the degree to which respondents and key network members agreed about global aspects of their dyadic relationships. Current findings are considered within the context of the mutual-help organization and implications of the results for future network research are discussed.
Issue Date:1987
Description:164 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8721765
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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