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Date of Award

1992

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Martin T. Gipson

First Committee Member

Esther Cohen

Second Committee Member

Cris T. Clay

Abstract

The perception of available social support in the chronic mentally ill may have implications for the maintenance of their social functioning and independence. Perceived social support has been a major focus in the development of theories and measures of social support, and a close relationship has been found between perceived social support and health outcomes in general (Sarason, Sarason, & Pierce, 1990). More specifically, effective social support systems within the chronic mentally ill have been associated with decreased number of hospitalizations (Cutler, Tatum, & Shore, 1987). However, no psychometrically sound measure of perceived social support exists appropriate to the circumstances of the chronic mentally ill. The purpose of this study was to develop such a measure and validate it with chronic mentally ill individuals. A 15-item questionnaire was developed through three iterations with 350 chronic mentally ill individuals, yielding a scale with a final coefficient alpha of.92. These and all other participants were outpatient clients of county mental health systems in California. The final questionnaire's relationship to other measures related to social support was then explored.

Pages

94

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