Exploring the Role of Social Support in Promoting Community Integration: An Integrated Literature Review

Published In

American Journal of Community Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



Community integration has emerged as a priority area among mental health advocates, policy makers, and researchers (Townley, Miller, & Kloos, 2013; Ware, Hopper, Tugenberg, Dickey, & Fisher, 2007). Past research suggests that social support influences community integration for individuals with serious mental illnesses (Davidson, Haglund, Stayner, Rakfeldt, Chinman, & Tebes, 2001; Davidson, Stayner, Nickou, Styron, Rowe, & Chinman, 2001; Wong & Solomon, 2002), but there has not yet been a systematic review on this topic. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to explore the influence of social support on community integration through a review of the existing literature. An extensive literature search was conducted, resulting in 32 articles that met the search criteria. These articles were organized into three categories: defining community integration, supportive relationships, and mental health services. The search results are analyzed according to the types of support being provided. Article strengths, limitations, implications, and future directions are also addressed. Overall, the findings of this review suggest that social support, which may be provided by a variety of individuals and services, plays an important role in promoting community integration for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Therefore, as community mental health research and practice continues to promote community integration for individuals with serious mental illnesses, the mental health field should emphasize the importance of social support as a key factor influencing community integration.


© 2019 Society for Community Research and Action

Locate the Document




Persistent Identifier