Social networks of 310 chronically mentally ill patients in Chicago-area State mental hospitals were examined to assess the relationship between the number of hospitalizations and network size and composition. As the number and length of admissions increases, although network size remains stable, there are fewer relatives and friends in the network. The networks of patients with frequent admissions are composed primarily of people met through the mental health system and those known for a short time. These differences are neither related to diagnosis nor to severity of mental illness. The results suggest that the process of hospitalization is related to patients' sources of social support. Implications for readmissions are discussed.
Copyright (C) 1990, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center
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