An Examination of the Community Participation Interests of Young Adults with Serious Mental Illnesses

Elizabeth C. Thomas, Gretchen Snethen, Amber O’Shea, John Suarez, Irene Hurford, Mark S. Salzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Participation in various aspects of community life (e.g., education, employment) plays a critical role in fostering young adult development and health. To support behavioral health services in addressing a broader array of meaningful community participation areas, the current study examined the participation interests of young adults with serious mental illnesses via a literature review and focus groups interviews. Literature review results revealed a range of community participation areas of interest to these individuals, including employment, education, religion and spirituality, social networking (e.g., using social media), volunteering activities, socializing, and civic and artistic participation (e.g., attending a political event, playing music). Focus group participants named many of these same areas, but also mentioned unique areas of participation that have not been the focus of previous research (i.e., playing games, sports, exploration of other communities (e.g., traveling), hanging out, and nature-based participation). Implications for future research and behavioral health practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-543
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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