Community participation differences between Black and White adults with serious mental illness

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2022 Sep 29. doi: 10.1037/ort0000646. Online ahead of print.


Promoting community participation is a core goal of behavioral health services for persons with serious mental illness (SMI) regardless of their racial/ethnic background. While practitioners are trained to respect diversity and culture, little is known about how racial/ethnic minorities participate in their communities during the recovery process. This is especially true for Black adults, who are disproportionately represented in current services. This study sought to compare differences in community participation experiences and interests between Black and White adults with SMI. Secondary data (n = 799) were analyzed from studies involving Black and White adults with SMI using the Temple University Community Participation Measure. Regression analyses were conducted to identify potential differences in four areas: amount of participation in a variety of community activities; number of activities participants deemed important; number of important activities actually performed; and the percentage of important activities performed as much as desired (i.e., sufficiency). Compared to White adults, Black adults had greater amounts of community participation overall and in a number of specific community activities (e.g., worship, visiting park/recreation center). Black adults also reported more community activities as important and were more likely to engage in their important activities. Relative to White adults, results suggest that Black adults with SMI were interested in and engaged more in social activities-potentially enhancing their sense of group solidarity and personal mental health recovery. Accordingly, practitioners should be aware of, and attend to, possible racial/ethnic differences in community participation, and its possible role in promoting or hindering recovery across diverse populations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).