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Assessing Social Determinants of Severe Mental Illness in High-Risk Groups

Description: The primary objective of this research was to explore the impact of possible social factors on non-institutionalized adults 18 years of age or older residing in the United States who exhibited severe mental illness (SMI). A holistic sociological model was developed to explain SMI by incorporating elements of social learning theory, social disorganization theory, and gender socialization theory with social demographic factors. Based on the holistic sociological model, the following factors were investigated: demographic aspects of age, education, income and gender; gender socialization; influence of neighborhood area; social network influence based on communication and interaction among peers and family members; and socially deviant behaviors such as frequently smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using drugs specifically marijuana. The impact of these factors on SMI was examined. A sample of 206 respondents drawn from National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2003 was assessed. These respondents had answered all the questions related to SMI; social deviant behaviors; neighborhood environment; and communications among peers, family members and friends; and the other studied factors. Ordinary linear regression with interaction terms was employed as a statistical tool to assess the impact of social determinants on SMI. Being female, living a disorganized neighborhood, and frequent and high levels of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol had a significant influence on SMI. This reevaluation and reexamination of the role of gender socialization path, socially deviant behaviors like smoking and drinking, and community construction on SMI provided additional insights. This research is one of the first to develop a more holistic sociological model on SMI and explored the previously untested interactive relationships. The limitations of this study suggest the need to test a potential recursive research model and explore additional bi-directional associations.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Sun, Qi
Partner: UNT Libraries