Leisure Education for persons with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: Is it a Socially Valid Process?


  • Michael J. Mahon
  • Charles C. Bullock
  • Karen Luken
  • Cheryl Martens


Leisure Education, Social Validity, Mental Illness, Reintegration


People with severe and persistent mental illness may identify new interests while in the hospital but often encounter difficulty related to following through on, or even knowing if it is acceptable to pursue these interests once they leave the hospital setting. The Reintegration Through Recreation (RTR) leisure education program was designed to assist adults with severe and persistent mental illness who were in an institutional setting or residing in the community to successfully master the skills necessary for participation in recreation and community living. While there is general consensus that leisure education is a useful process for facilitating transition between settings and life stages, there has been no research which has assessed the effects of leisure education on persons with severe and persistent mental illness. One method of determining the "value" of a specific intervention is through social validation research. The purpose of this study was to determine whether consumers, family members, and service providers considered the goals, interventions, and outcomes of the RTR leisure education program to be socially valid. Three surveys were administered to determine the social validity of the RTR program. The results suggest that all three groups of individuals consider the program to be socially valid. The process used in this study can serve as a model for future research. Further research should attempt to replicate these findings using measures with established reliability and validity.





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