Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Typical approaches to social functioning assessment--the social adjustment approach in particular--are seen to have a number of conceptual and methodological limitations which develop from a problematic value system. A new approach to the assessment of social functioning is advocated, based on the values of community psychology and giving priority to the individual's subjective experience, social environment, and personal growth, and to a qualitative methodology. As part of the development of this approach, this research sought to describe and interpret what a group of 40 people--previously hospitalized for psychiatric treatment and currently residing in co-operative supportive housing--think and feel about their own social functioning. Social functioning was conceptualized in terms of the working self-concept and in particular by the relationships among the real and ideal self-concepts and others’ expectations. Qualitative data analysis revealed that the expectations of specific others were not important, but that participants‘ ideal selves were often based on what they thought “normal” functioning “should” be, regarding both specific roles and attributes and general themes of competence, self—determination, and integration. In terms of general social functioning, this comparison to normal people led most participants to feel marginalized in society and deprived of acceptance, but many were satisfied with their functioning in certain roles.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season