Family Network Support and Mental Health Recovery


  • Francesca Pernice-Duca, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Theoretical & Behavioral Foundations, Marriage & Family Psychology Program, Wayne State University.
    This study was funded by a grant from the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation while the author was at Michigan State University. The author would like to acknowledge the support and contributions of the Clubhouse Research Team: Drs. Sandy Herman, Esther Onaga, SuMin Oh, Katie Weaver-Randall, and Ms. Cathy Maddelena.

Address correspondence to Francesca Pernice-Duca, Wayne State University, Marriage & Family Psychology Program, 5425 Gullen Mall, Office 337, Detroit, Michigan 48202; E-mail:


Family members often provide critical support to persons living with a serious mental illness. The focus of this study was to determine which dimensions of the family support network were most important to the recovery process from the perspective of the recovering person. Consumers of a community mental health program completed in-depth structured interviews that included separate measures of social network support and recovery. Consumers named an average of 2.6 family members on the social network, interacted with family on a weekly basis, and were quite satisfied with their contact. This study revealed that support and reciprocity with family members are important dimensions of a personal support network that relates to the recovery process.