Social support and community functioning of clients with schizophrenia : a nursing investigation

Power, Judy Elizabeth Hicks (1990) Social support and community functioning of clients with schizophrenia : a nursing investigation. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to increase knowledge regarding the concept of social support and its role in contributing to a better understanding of clients with schizophrenia and their ability to function in the community. The conceptual framework based on Norbeck's model of social support (Norbeck, 1981) suggested that individual and situational properties combine to impact on the need for social support and its actual and perceived availability from the social network surrounding the individual. Adequate, appropriate social support is expected to be more likely to result in satisfactory levels of functioning in the community. -- A convenience sample of 30 subjects between the ages of 18 and 61 participated in the study. They each had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, attended an Ambulatory Care service and had been discharged from a psychiatric hospital within the past year. The study instruments utilized were the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire, the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale and a Client Profile, designed by the investigator. The study was designed to obtain information related to subjects' perceptions of their social networks, their perceptions of social support available from those networks, and their levels of community functioning. Relationships between community functioning and social support were analyzed. -- Social support was conceptualized on the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire as two variables: functional social support, composed of affect, affirmation and aid; and network properties, composed of network size, duration of relationships with network members and frequency of contact with network members. Community functioning was measured by the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale. -- The results of the study demonstrated that this sample of clients with schizophrenia had social networks which were small and family-dominated. Relationships outside the family were not long-standing and contact with network members was limited. Recent loss of network members was relatively common. Subjects perceived that they received less social support than other groups. Eight subjects indicated serious problems with their level of functioning in the community while 22 subjects had mild or moderate difficulties. -- A significant positive relationship was found between social support as measured by the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire and community functioning as measured by the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale. Because the relationship between social support and community functioning may operate bidirectionally, it was suggested that enhancing social support may improve community functioning and alternatively that improving community functioning may improve social support. -- Based on the information provided by this study, guidelines for incorporating the concept of social support in clinical practice were addressed as well as implications for nursing theory and research.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5715
Item ID: 5715
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 141-148.
Department(s): Nursing, School of
Date: 1990
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Social networks; Schizophrenics--Social networks; Schizophrenics--Rehabilitation; Community mental health services
Medical Subject Heading: Schizophrenia--rehabilitation; Community Mental Health Services; Social Support

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