Social networks and service use among representative cases of psychosis in south London.
T Becker, G Thornicroft, M Leese, P McCrone, S Johnson, M Albert, D Turner


BACKGROUND Large social networks in patients with severe mental illness have been reported to be associated with a low rate of hospitalisation. We aim to determine whether social network size is related to the likelihood of hospitalisation and the amount of service use.

METHOD As part of a prospective controlled study, baseline interview data for a random sample of one-year prevalent cases with non-organic psychosis were analysed with respect to social network characteristics and service use during a six-month period.

RESULTS The likelihood of hospitalisation decreased with an increase in network size, while the number of services used by patients grew as the social network size increased.

CONCLUSIONS While larger social networks may be associated with a lower likelihood of hospitalization, they may also be related to wider use of non-hospital services.