Social networks of depressed patients
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Arch Psych Psych 2009;11(3):35–42
Aim. The purpose of the research was to analyse the structure of social networks as well as the types and sources of support received by patients with unipolar disease. Material and methods. Assessment was made according to Bizon's method and Cohen's ISEL. Results. In general, the patients' networks function worse than the networks of healthy people. Patients with unipolar disorder do not mention many people in their environment as significant or providing support. They devote less time to social life, are often isolated and lonely and restrict their interactions to family members. This is the group of people from which they obtain most support, and additionally all supportive functions often lie with one person. These patients have a sense of receiving a small amount of mainly emotional (self-esteem) but also appraisal, belonging and tangible support. Conclusions. Stabilizing supportive relations in different aspects of life should be one of the aims of therapy, both in hospital wards and outpatient facilities. Surely this is one of the pathways which may, at least to some degree, alleviate the huge suffering caused by affective disorders.