Past Research 2003 – 2013

2008 – 2013 Grant Cycle

Future Research Recommendations – At our Second International Research Conference in 2011 we invited conference attendees to come together and identify emerging research needs in the community inclusion arena. This report is a compilation of the research recommendations in six key areas: Vulnerable Populations, Education and Employment, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Community Engagement and Civic Activity, Intimacy, and Parenting.

  1. A randomized controlled study of peer-delivered supports for persons with co-occurring psychiatric and physical/sensory disabilities.  Working with Liberty Resources, Inc. in Philadelphia, which is one of the nation’s oldest and largest Centers for Independent Living serving people with disabilities, the Collaborative will explore the impact of providing the supports of Certified Peer Specialists for Liberty Resources consumers with both physical/sensory and psychiatric disabilities.
  2. A study of environmental influences on community participation, using Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies.  Continuing the use of GIS technologies from the first five years of the Collaborative’s research activities, investigators will explore the degree to which proximity to a wide range of community resources are predictive of measured levels of community inclusion for a sample of Philadelphians with psychiatric disabilities.
  3. A randomized, controlled, multisite trial of the effectiveness of supported education for postsecondary students with psychiatric disabilities.  Working with a network of supported education programs funded by the State of New Jersey’s Office of Mental Health, the study offers a unique opportunity to assess the degree to which supported education programs can be effective in assisting students to complete their studies in a satisfactory manner.
  4. A randomized controlled trial assessing the impact of self-directed care, within a Medicaid-funding environment, on participation and community living.  Working with a selected sample of Medicaid clients in Delaware County (PA) served by Magellen Mental Health Systems, the study assesses the impact of placing primary control over the expenditure of Medicaid mental health funds in the hands of consumers, who will be assisted by specially training peer specialist personnel.

    Related Publications:

    • Snethen, G., Bilger, A., Maula, E. C., & Salzer, M. S. (2016). Exploring Personal Medicine as Part of Self-Directed Care: Expanding Perspectives on Medical Necessity. Psychiatric Services.
  5. A randomized, controlled trial of an ‘inoculation against discrimination’ training intervention for African Americans with psychiatric disabilities.  Experiences of daily race related stressors have a profound impact on the mental health status of African American (AA) clients with severe psychiatric disorders. Working with a local community mental health center, investigators are implementing an RCT to assess the effectiveness of Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) for AA clients to improve their coping skills with daily discriminatory stressors encountered, and consequently, improve their psychiatric symptoms.
  6. A mixed methods study of the community living needs of individuals with psychiatric disabilities who are newly released from jail.  This study follows a sample of individuals with psychiatric disabilities from jail to community, assessing the services and supports needed, available, and effective in the efforts of individuals to reestablish themselves – as family members, as workers, and as community participants – in their lives following incarceration.
  7. A test of the reliability of three community participation measures for adults with psychiatric disabilities, using two administration approaches.  This study continues the work of the Collaborative in providing the research tools needed to measure community inclusion and the effectiveness of related service/support interventions, providing a first time assessment of the reliability of three widely use participation measures that have been developed over the past few years.
  8. A randomized, controlled study of the impact of an internet-based parenting intervention for mothers with psychiatric disabilities.  Building upon the Collaborative’s prior work on the challenges facing mothers with psychiatric disabilities in raising their children, the study assesses a new intervention – an internet-based parenting group – in an effort to insure that needed peer support is provided for mothers seeking to retain custody of their children.


2003 – 2008 Grant Cycle

  1. The Meaning and Definition of Community from the Perspective of Consumers. The Collaborative found that while consumers of mental health services define ‘community’ in much the same way as those not using mental health services – as a series of connections to cultural, faith-based, neighborhood, and treatment organizations – only about one-third of consumers in supportive housing had been involved over the past year in a non-treatment group or organization.
    Related Publication:
    • Wong, Y.-L. I., Sands, R. G., & Solomon, P. L. (2010). Conceptualizing community: The experience of mental health consumers.” Qualitative Health Research, 20,(5), 654-667.
    • Wong, Y.-L. I. & Stanhope, V. (2009). Conceptualizing community: A comparison of neighborhood characteristics of supportive housing for persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities. Social Science and Medicine, 68(8), 1376-1387.
    • Wong, Y.-L.I., Nath, S.B. & Solomon, P. (2007). Group and organizational involvement among persons with psychiatric disabilities in supported housing. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 34(2). 151-167.
  2.  Advancing the Measurement of Community Connection. This study focused on two existing measures assessing ‘sense of Community’ – the Neighborhood Behavior Scale (NBS) and the Sense of Community Index (SCI).  The Collaborative revised both scales to better reflect the concerns of consumers of mental health services, developing new research protocols for the NBS and SCI for use in other research projects in the field.
     Related Publication:
    • Wong, Y.-L. I., Matejkowski, J., & Lee, S. (in press). “Social integration of people with serious mental illness: Network transactions and satisfaction.” Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research.
  3. Assessing Residential Segregation of People with Psychiatric Disabilities through a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Study. The Collaborative linked GIS study data and Philadelphia Medicaid records to explore patterns of residence locations of people receiving care for severe mental illness that were reimbursed by Medicaid. The study determined only minimal differences of residential clustering for Medicaid recipients with a psychiatric disability, compared to other Medicaid recipients, but found high concentrations of these individuals living in the City’s poorest neighborhoods.
    Related Publication:
    • Metraux, S., Caplan, J.M., Klugman, D., and Hadley, T.R. (2007). Assessing residential segregation among Medicaid recipients with psychiatric disability in Philadelphia. Journal of Community Psychology, 35(2), 239-255.
  4. Custody Rights for Women with Psychiatric Disabilities. The Collaborative studied a sample of Medicaid-enrolled women and compared the degree to which women with mental illnesses lose custody of their children compared to those without mental illnesses:  investigators found mothers with a mental illnesses were far more likely to lose custody of their children. This finding suggests the importance of both improved parenting services for these mothers and more education and training of all key parties including child welfare staff, court officials, and mental health providers.
    Related Publications:
    • Kaplan, K., Kottsieper, P., Scott, J., Salzer, M., & Solomon, P. (2009). Adoption and safe families act state statutes regarding parents with mental illnesses: A review and targeted intervention. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 33(2), 91-94.
    • Friesen, B., Nicholson, J., Kaplan, K., Solomon, P. (2009). Parents with a mental illness and implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act: Monograph on ASFA. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 8-136.
    • Park,  J. M., Solomon,  P., Mandell, D. S. (2006). Involvement in the child welfare system among mothers with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 57(4): 493-497.
  5. A Multi-State Study of the Impact of Olmstead Implementation and Assessment of Consumer Participation in Planning. The Collaborative studied Olmstead planning activities in ten states in the years following Olmstead’s ground-breaking judicial decision. While planning activities and the states’ involvement of consumers varied considerably from state to state, consumers were rarely involved in national deliberations over Olmstead implementation, and state Olmstead related activities were limited by reductions in Olmstead funding.
    Related Publication:
    • Zubritsky, C, Mullahy, M. (2006). The state of the Olmstead Decision and the impact on consumer participation in planning. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 9, 131-143.
  6. The Use of Circles of Support in Supported Employment: A Randomized Control Study. The  Collaborative adapted a ‘circle of support’ intervention first used with individuals with developmental disabilities to assist people with mental illnesses to gain and maintain employment. While implementing a ‘circle of support’ proved more time consuming and complex than anticipated, consumers who received the support of families, friends, and co-workers did sustain employment longer.
    Related Publication:
    • Murphy, A. A., Mullen, M. G., & Spagnolo, A. B. (2005). Enhancing individual placement and support: Promoting job tenure by integrating natural supports and supported education. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 8, 37-61.
  7. Using a Social Enhancement Workbook to Build Natural Supports: A Randomized Control Study. The Collaborative developed and sought to implement a ‘social enhancement workbook’ to be used by case managers and residential staff with consumers to assist them in building natural supports. Encouraging staff to actually use the Social Enhancement Workbook proved more difficult than anticipated, but positive outcomes were found for those who did fully utilize the workbook.
    Related Publication:
    • Escovitz, K., & Solomon, P. (2005). Social Participation Workbook: UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration.
  8. Internet-Based Peer Support for People with Psychiatric Disabilities: A Randomized Control Study. The Collaborative examined the effects of Internet peer support for people with psychiatric disabilities. Such interactions were found not to be harmful as many had feared.
    Related Publication:
    • Kaplan, K., Salzer, M.S., Solomon, P., Brusilovskiy, E., & Cousounis, P. Internet peer support for individuals with psychiatric disabilities: A randomized controlled trial.  Social Science & Medicine
  9. Post Secondary Educational Experiences of Students with Psychiatric Disabilities. The Collaborative found that while college-going consumers participated in college life within many of the same patterns as their peers without a disability, approximately half reported difficulties with the academic and social demands of campus life, arguing for more targeted services to this group. A national survey of 508 college students with mental illnesses indicated both increased awareness and use of reasonable accommodations in their academia and recommendations for more peer-to-peer and professional support for students with mental illnesses.
    Related Publications:
    • Salzer, M. S., Wick, L. C., & Rogers, J. A. (2008). Familiarity With and Use of Accommodations and Supports Among Postsecondary Students With Mental Illnesses. Psychiatric Services, 59(4), 370-375.
    • Salzer, M.S. (in press). A Comparative Study of Campus Experiences of College Students with Mental Illnesses Versus a General College Sample. Journal of American College Health.