Depressive Symptoms and Community Participation Among Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses

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The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

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Community participation is important to the well-being of people with serious mental illnesses. While theories suggest that depressive symptoms can negatively impact community participation, evidence from previous studies was inconclusive. This study analyzed the relationship between severity of depressive symptoms and various participation constructs including number of days of participation in various community activities, breadth of interests in participating in community activities, and satisfaction with the amount to which one participates. A national sample of individuals with serious mental illnesses (n = 296) was employed. Overall, those who were severely depressed had fewer total days of participation, reported fewer participation areas as important, were less likely to participate in those areas that were important to them, and were less likely to participate as much as they wanted to in areas that were important to them. This relationship generally remained even after controlling for demographics. Overall, the findings from this study suggest that greater attention should be paid to the relationship between depressive symptoms and community participation in this population, including explorations that examine how the promotion of participation may have an impact on depressive symptoms. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).


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