Understanding the experience of place: Expanding methods to conceptualize and measure community integration of persons with serious mental illness

Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, 224 Barnwell College, 1512 Pendleton Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
Health & Place (Impact Factor: 2.81). 11/2008; 15(2):520-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.08.011
Source: PubMed


Community integration research explores community contexts and factors that encourage or hinder individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) from actively participating in community life. This research agenda can be advanced by using mixed-methods that better document the relationships between contextual factors and individual experience. Two such methods were applied to a mixed-methods study of 40 adults with SMI living in independent housing in the Southeastern United States. Their contextualized experiences of community integration were measured by applying innovative participatory mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping techniques. Use of these methods in conjunction with one another facilitated the creation of activity spaces, which can measure geographic accessibility and help to represent an individual's experience of place and degree of mobility. The utility of these newly applied methods for better understanding community integration for persons with SMI is explored and implications for using these measures in research and practice are discussed.

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Available from: Bret Kloos, Mar 17, 2014
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    • "Examples of research looking at urban design have focused on neighborhood characteristics such as racial composition, crime, access to services, inclusion and exclusion in public spaces and places, neighborhood incivilities, crowding, poverty and sprawl (Dear and Wolch, 1987; Evans et al., 2003; Wong and Stanhope, 2009; Townley and Kloos, 2011; Tsai et al., 2011; Whitley and Prince, 2005; Yanos, 2007). The relationship between mental health recovery and geographic mobility has also been examined (Chan et al., 2014; Townley et al., 2009; Vallée et al., 2011). Within much of this literature, place has been understood as a bounded local entity fixed in space and time. "
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    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Health & Place
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    • "Pilot and feasibility studies have demonstrated the capacity of GPS to locate health behaviours, with a potential to better understand environmental influences [26]. For example, GPS units have been used to track travel patterns among adolescents [27, 28], analyze walking among adults [29], analyze bicycling routes in relation to existing road infrastructures [30], mobility patterns among older adults [31, 32], link mobility with mental health outcomes [33, 34], analyze active transportation [35–37] or relations between PA, and the built environment [38, 39]. GPS data have also been used to validate parent-reported questionnaires on children's activity locations [40], with results showing significant place misclassifications in parent-reported activity locations and times, thus underscoring the usefulness of GPS systems for obtaining reliable information on activities and locations. "
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    • "Community integration refers quite simply to the notion that individuals with disabilities should have opportunities to live, work, engage with others, and enjoy recreational activities in the same manner as peers without disabilities (Wong and Solomon 2002). In addition to fostering the achievement of normative goals (e.g., employment, education , social support, successful community tenure), there is emerging evidence that community integration facilitates positive mental health, life satisfaction, reduced loneliness, and increased sense of acceptance from community members (Abdallah et al. 2009; Granerud and Severinsson 2006; Prince and Gerber 2005; Townley et al. 2009; Ware et al. 2007). "
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