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Community Ment Health J. 1992 Jun;28(3):199-214.

Social networks of residents in supportive housing.

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Continuing Care Division, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Canada.


One goal of supportive housing is to enlarge and improve the functioning of the social support networks of residents. The networks of a convenience sample of 42 residents were assessed using scales developed by Barrera. The size of the networks (11.5) was no larger than that reported for similar clients living in other types of community settings but the composition differed. Staff and co-residents appear to partially replace rather than add to family and friends. This is of concern because friends are uniquely important determinants of satisfaction. An association between perceived need for support and network size was also found. These findings suggest some positive influences but also raise questions about unintended negative consequences of living in artificially constructed social environments.

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