Conceptualizing Social Integration Among Formerly Homeless Adults With Severe Mental Illness

The multiple dimensions of social integration among formerly homeless adults with severe mental illness have not been well-studied. Previous studies have focused on clinical measures or narrow components of social integration. We used a multisite study of chronically homeless adults who were provided housing to (a) identify the main factors related to social integration, (b) examine the association between clinical symptoms and social integration, and (c) examine whether social integration is associated with life satisfaction. A factor analysis identified six components of social integration: housing, community participation, civic activities, religious faith, social support, and treatment support. Social integration was found to be largely independent of clinical symptoms and had only a weak association with life satisfaction. These findings suggest supported housing programs needed to focus on improving client outcomes in several domains of social integration regardless of symptoms and that additional efforts are needed to improve life satisfaction among clients.

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Journal of Community Psychology