Social Isolation and Mental Health: Evidence From Adults With Serious Mental Illness

G. Trey Jenkins, Nicole Janich, Shiyou Wu, Michael Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In the United States, loneliness is increasingly becoming a public health crisis. Individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) report loneliness at rates much higher than the general population. In this secondary data analysis, we examine how subjective and objective social isolation influence perceptions of mental health and well-being. Method: Using a cross-sectional design, we conducted a multivariate hierarchical regression analysis to determine the unique influence both subjective and objective isolation had on perceptions of mental health and well-being in adults with SMI. Results: Rates of reported loneliness in those with SMI was consistent with the literature. Increased perceptions of loneliness were found to be a significant predictor of decreased self-report mental health rating and increased frequency of bothersome symptoms. Increased perceptions of social support were also a significant predictor in increased self-report mental health rating and frequency of bothersome symptoms. Conclusion and Implications for practice: For social workers and providers of services to individuals with SMI, it is important to understand the prevalence of loneliness in the population. It is also critical to provide those with SMI social support and inclusion interventions that aim to increase perceptions of mental well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychiatric rehabilitation journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Cosp
  • Peer support
  • Serious mental illness
  • Subjective and objective isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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