Using social bonding theory to examine 'recovery' in a forensic mental health hospital: A qualitative study.

Criminal behaviour and mental health : CBMH

PubMedID: 24910365

Nijdam-Jones A, Livingston JD, Verdun-Jones S, Brink J. Using social bonding theory to examine 'recovery' in a forensic mental health hospital: A qualitative study. Crim Behav Ment Health. 2014;.
BACKGROUND
For people living with mental illness, recovery involves learning to overcome and manage their symptoms and striving to live fulfilling lives. The literature on achieving recovery emphasises the importance of social connections and positive role models. Hirschi's social bonding theory posits that an individual's attachment to others, belief in social norms, and their commitment and involvement in conventional activities are the major contributors to normalising social behaviour.

AIMS
The aim of this study is to understand the qualities of service identified by patients in a forensic hospital as being important and meaningful to recovery.

METHODS
Semi-structured interviews with 30 inpatients in a forensic mental health hospital in British Columbia, Canada, were audio recorded, and the transcriptions were analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS
Five themes emerged: involvement in programmes, belief in rules and social norms, attachment to supportive individuals, commitment to work-related activities and concern about indeterminacy of stay.

CONCLUSIONS
The first four themes map closely onto Hirschi's criminologically derived social bonding theory; however, indeterminacy of stay also arose as a common theme. In addition, the theory was too simple in its separation of elements; our data suggested the complex integration of themes. Our findings may be useful for informing evaluation of forensic mental health services. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.