Yanos PT, Stefancic A, Tsemberis S. Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice–City University of New York, 524 W. 59th St, New York, NY 10019, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org. Psychiatr Serv. 2012;63(5):438-44. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100397.
OBJECTIVE: Housing programs for people with severe mental illnesses aim to maximize community integration. However, little is known about how the community integration of mental health consumers living in supported housing compares with that of other community residents in the socially disadvantaged communities where supported housing is often located. The purpose of this study was to examine predictors of objective community integration of mental health consumers living in supported housing and of other persons living in the same communities.
METHODS: Participants were 124 adults (60 mental health consumers and 64 other community residents) residing in designated zip codes in the Bronx, New York. Participants were administered measures of psychiatric symptoms, substance use, physical community integration (participation in local activities), social integration (interactions with community members), and citizenship (political activism or volunteering).
RESULTS: Mental health consumers living in supported independent housing had significantly lower scores on indicators of objective community integration than other community members. However, differences were relatively small. Among mental health consumers, African-American race, education, and length of time in current residence were associated with better community integration.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that mental health consumers living in supported housing may not achieve levels of objective community integration that are comparable with other community members; however, psychiatric factors did not account for this difference. Length of time in neighborhoods appears to be an important factor in facilitating social integration.