Research in the area of social networks and health has demonstrated that lay social network members play a critical role in the early stages of the illness career, influencing key decisions and pathways to formal care. Here, we revisit and extend this body of work, examining how the lay social network context can moderate the influence of treatment experiences on recovery outcomes as the illness career unfolds. To achieve this goal, we address two research questions, drawing on a longitudinal sample of people making their initial contact with the mental health treatment system: First, we explore how treatment experiences, lay social network characteristics, and recovery outcomes change over 2 years, beginning with the point of entry into treatment. Second, we examine whether the relationship between perceived treatment experiences and recovery outcomes is contingent on characteristics of the lay network context in which clients are socially embedded, focusing on the network's cultural orientation toward medical professionals. We find that positive treatment interactions facilitate improved self-esteem, mastery, role functioning, recovery optimism, and global functioning when the lay network culture is pro-medical, but largely have null effects on the recovery process when the lay network is more hostile to medical professionals.
Perry, Brea L, Erin Pullen, Bernice A Pescosolido, Jimi Adams, David Schaefer, and Thomas Valente. 2017. "Interactions Between Patients' Experiences in Mental Health Treatment and Lay Social Network Attitudes toward Doctors in Recovery from Mental Illness." Network Science 5:355-80.