Geographic access to and availability of community resources for persons diagnosed with severe mental illness in Philadelphia, USA.

Department of Health Policy & Public Health, University of the Sciences. 600S. 43rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495, USA.
Health & Place (Impact Factor: 2.44). 01/2012; 18(3):621-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.12.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study assesses whether there are differences in geographic access to and availability of a range of different amenities for a large group of persons diagnosed with severe mental illness (SMI) in Philadelphia (USA) when compared to a more general set of residential addresses. The 15,246 persons who comprised the study group had better outcomes than an equal number of geographical points representative of the general Philadelphia population on measures of geographic proximity and availability for resources considered important by people diagnosed with SMI. These findings provide support for the presence of geographic prerequisites for attaining meaningful levels of community integration.

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    ABSTRACT: Measures of community integration rely on self-report assessments that often quantify physical or social participation, but fail to capture the individual's spatial presence in the community. The current study documents the activity space, or area of daily experiences, of 37 individuals who were once homeless through participatory mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Contrary to expectations, there was no significant relationship between activity space size and community integration measures, except a negative association with physical integration. Further analysis revealed, however, that continued use of homeless services, geographically spread throughout the city, was associated with larger activity space size, but may be counterproductive to social and psychological integration efforts. Analysis of the types of locations identified revealed high importance given to leisure locations and ongoing involvement with medical and mental health locations. Finally, community integration outcomes did not differ significantly by demographics or housing type, but rather degree of family involvement and feeling like home, factors that may have more potential for change.
    Health & Place 05/2014; · 2.44 Impact Factor

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