An Exploratory Analysis of Unhealthy and Abusive Relationships for Adults with Serious Mental Illnesses Living in Supportive Housing

Brad Forenza, Autumn M. Bermea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Individuals living with serious mental illness are at high risk of chronic homelessness, victimization, and intimate partner violence. In recent years, supportive housing programs have emerged as one way to prevent homelessness and victimization for this population, while also expanding social interactions and social networks. In concert with a focal supportive housing program, this research conducted two focus groups with 18 individuals who have a serious mental illness diagnosis. The authors sought to answer the research question, “What are perceptions of healthy and unhealthy relationships among formerly homeless people with serious mental illness?” To this end, the eight-item questionnaire was created around dimensions of power and control, as well as relationship equality. Findings from an inductive thematic analysis reveal three broad families of themes (relationship ideals, lived experiences, and risk/resources in supportive housing), around which smaller themes and subthemes are organized. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-687
Number of pages9
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


Cite this