Although most chronically impaired psychiatric patients now reside in community-based residential homes, a substantial number show little progress in their social rehabilitation. To establish the rehabilitative needs of this population, the current study sought to examine the social behaviour of residents of a large residential care facility. After an analysis of the social behaviour of all residents, two groups were selected for detailed study on the basis of their contrasting patterns of social interaction.
These two groups were found to differ significantly with respect to their interpersonal activity, social contact, conversation skill, employment, and participation in community rehabilitation programmes. Psychiatric status was substantially different in each group. The implications of these findings for rehabilitation strategies in the management of severe mental illness are discussed.