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Community Ment Health J. 1979 Summer;15(2):82-93.

Social support and social adjustment: implications for mental health professionals.


The general importance of an individual's support network has been recognized in the field of community mental health; yet a more detailed understanding of how a client's available social ties may contribute to his or her adjustment is presently lacking. This study used network analysis to examine differences in the social networks of mental health clients to identify factors associated with positive social adjustment. Subjects were selected from three different types of mental health programs as well as from the general population of Marion County, Oregon. Results generally revealed that subjects from the community sample more often would look to immediate family members for support. Better functioning chronic clients emphasized professional contacts, whereas more poorly adjusted chronic clients would look to friends for support. The results have implications both for understanding the nature of the support available to a client and mobilizing the support resources of the existing network of relationships to aid adjustment to community living.

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