Consumer-run service participation, recovery of social functioning, and the mediating role of psychological factors

P T Yanos, L H Primavera, E L Knight
Psychiatric Services: a Journal of the American Psychiatric Association 2001, 52 (4): 493-500

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the relationship between participation in consumer-run services and recovery of social functioning among persons diagnosed as having serious mental illness. It also assessed the role of psychological factors in mediating this relationship.

METHODS: Research questions investigated were whether involvement in consumer-run services is positively associated with recovery when premorbid and demographic factors are controlled for, whether psychological factors are positively associated with recovery irrespective of involvement in consumer-run services, and whether the relationship between involvement in consumer-run services and recovery is mediated by the psychological factors. The factors examined were self-efficacy, hopefulness, and active coping strategies. Sixty participants with a past or present diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder and at least one past psychiatric hospitalization were recruited from a community mental health center and two consumer-run programs. Data were collected on hopefulness, self-efficacy, coping strategies, social functioning, and premorbid and demographic characteristics.

RESULTS: Findings indicated that participants involved in consumer-run services had better social functioning than those involved only in traditional mental health services, that psychological variables were significantly associated with social functioning, and that the relationship between involvement in consumer-run services and social functioning was partly mediated by the use of more problem-centered coping strategies. Premorbid and demographic factors did not account for the relationship between psychosocial variables and social functioning, although education was a significant predictor of social functioning.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings support the view that psychosocial factors may play a role in facilitating good community adjustment for individuals diagnosed as having serious mental illness.

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