Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eric Wright

Second Advisor

Raeda Anderson

Third Advisor

Jun Zhao


The relationship between clients with serious mental illness (SMI) and their staff members is multifaceted and complex. Using data from the Indiana Mental Health Services and HIV Risk Study, I investigate the personal networks of clients in community mental health centers (CMHC) and state psychiatric hospitals (SPH). Clustering analysis reveals five distinct network types derived from structural and functional measures of client’s ties; supportive context, diverse context, sparse context, clinical context, and treatment-focused context. In addition, weighted least squares regressions show the association of client’s network types onto their working alliance with staff members. Indicating, clients with treatment-focused networks predict the weakest working alliance compared to other network types. This study contributes insights to the emerging relational sociology approach by exploring the meaning of social ties in personal networks using quantitative analysis.


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