The Impact of Housing on people with Schizophrenia

Browne, Graeme (2005) The Impact of Housing on people with Schizophrenia. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Mental health services in Australia (and in most western countries) have undergone considerable changes in the past 20 years. These changes have

included the closing or downsizing of the old tertiary institutions and a move towards community treatment of people with a mental illness (consumers). Consumers no longer live in hospitals; as a consequence housing has become an important aspect of their lives.

Research has demonstrated that when consumers live in good quality housing of their own choosing they report improved quality of life, more satisfying supportive social relationships, and have fewer admissions.

People with schizophrenia are the largest psychiatric diagnostic group treated by the public health system in Australia. As a result of their illness people with schizophrenia often have difficulty in maintaining reasonable

quality accommodation and supportive social relationships.

A review of the available literature on housing options indicates that, for people with a mental illness, boarding houses are the least desirable type of community housing and that living in their own home is the most desirable.

These were the two types of housing chosen for the study.

Aims of the study

This study aimed to explore the impact of housing on the mental health of people with schizophrenia.

Study Design

Stage 1

For the initial stage of the project archival data was used to investigate the relationship between types of accommodation and illness patterns of people with schizophrenia.

The hypotheses for stage 1 of the project were:

  1. Admission rates will be significantly different for people with schizophrenia who are discharged to a private home when compared

to those discharged to a boarding house.

  1. Length of stay in hospital will not be significantly different for people with schizophrenia discharged to a private home when

compared to those discharged to a boarding house.

  1. Symptoms, as measured by scores on HoNOS scale, will be significantly different for people with schizophrenia living in a private home when compared to those living in a boarding house.

  2. The level of functioning, measured using an LSP 16, will be significantly different for people with schizophrenia living in a private home when compared to those living in a boarding house.

Inclusion Criteria

The subjects included were between 18 and 65 years of age and had a principal diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Findings

Findings indicate that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be admitted to hospital if discharged to a boarding house. Surprisingly, results also indicated that while there were no differences in the level of psychiatric

symptoms experienced, people with schizophrenia living in boarding houses had less access to social support, meaningful activities and work and had lower levels of global functioning. These findings contradict the conventional wisdom that people with schizophrenia resort to living in boarding houses because of their level of disability.

Stage 2

Stage 2 of the study further explored the impact of housing type on the mental health of people with schizophrenia by examining the experience of

thirteen people living independently in private homes or in a boarding house. The study aimed to use the experiences of the participants to develop a grounded theory explanation of the impact of housing on people with schizophrenia.

Findings from Stage 2 indicated a strong desire amongst all participants to live in their own home. Participants living in their own home had access to more opportunities and resources for staying well than participants living in boarding houses. Those participants who lived in their own home felt they belonged, they felt safe and most importantly they had greater opportunities to make and maintain supportive social relationships with friends and family. Participants reported that stable housing and supportive relationships helped them to stay well.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16060
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Courtney, Mary & Meehan, Thomas
Keywords: Consumers of mental health services, Schizophrenia, Housing, Boarding houses, Own home, Grounded theory, Admission rates, Social support
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Department: Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Graeme Browne
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:55
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:42

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