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Group Home Residents' Identities as Patients and as Community Members
Kenneth L. Robey
Psychiatric Services 1994; doi:
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Funding for this research was provided by the Mary E. Switzer rehabilitation research fellowship program of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The author thanks Debra Ream and Margaret Muckenhoupt.

SERV Centers of New Jersey, Inc., 520 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08618

1994 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Objective: The study examined the extent to which group home residents identified with the roles of psychiatric patient and community member. it was hypothesized that a longer history of hospitalization and a lower level of functioning would be associated with a stronger patient identity and that longer community tenure would be related to a less pronounced identification with the patient role. Methods: Fifty-seven group home residents were given a list of 50 features, or words describing thoughts, feelings, and personal characteristics. They were asked which features they would attribute to each of two identities— "myself as a psychiatric patient" and "myself as a community member." Correlations with hospitalization history, community tenure, and level of functioning were determined. Results: Residents with greater cumulative time spent hospitalized attributed more features to their identity as a patient than to their identity as a community member, indicating a greater elaboration of patient identity. Residents with long community tenures were no more likely than those recently hospitalized to have a more extensively elaborated identity as a community member. Global functioning scores were not related to strength of identification with the patient role. Conclusions: Identification with the patient role persists among group home residents even after relatively long tenure in the community. Providers of residential services may find it more helpful to promote positive associations with community membership rather than to attempt to reduce identification with the patient role.

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