Headshot of Dr. Phyllis Solomon

Phyllis Solomon, PhD

  • Professor

  • Associate Dean for Research

  • Senior Fellow, Center for Public Health Initiatives

  • Faculty Fellow, Ortner Center

  • Faculty Fellow, The Center for High Impact Philanthropy

  • Kenneth L. Pray Chair in Social Policy & Practice

3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
  • office: 215.898.5533
  • fax: 215.573.2099

Research Interests

Services, service interventions & service system issues for persons with severe mental illness

Psychiatric rehabilitation services

Intersection of criminal justice and mental health system issues

Families of persons with severe mental illness

Issues of family violence among families with a relative with severe psychiatric disorder

Integration of behavioral health and primary care

Phyllis Solomon, PhD is Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice and Professor of Social Work in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She is internationally known for her research on clinical services and service system issues related to adults with severe mental illness and their families that includes research on psychiatric rehabilitation programs and intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system. Dr. Solomon has extensively lectured and consulted in Asia, i.e., China, Japan and Korea. In 2015 she delivered the Annual Sidney Ball Lecture at Oxford University. She has edited and co-authored 6 books including two on psychiatric rehabilitation and has over 200 peer reviewed publications as well as more than 36 book chapters.

Furthermore, she is the recipient of numerous awards including First Place Research Award from the Society for Social Work and Research, Armin Loeb Award for Research in Psychosocial Rehabilitation from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, Outstanding Non-Psychiatrist Community Achievement Award given by the American Association of Community Psychiatrists, the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Mental Health Policy and Practice from NASW Foundation, Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society of Social Work and Research, University Provost Award for PhD Mentoring of Doctoral Students from University of Pennsylvania. Visiting Scholar, University of Western Ontario, Medical School, Department of Psychiatry;  Excellence in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Theory and Practice Award from CareLink Community Support Services; and was the Moses Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She was inducted in the first cohort of American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Her research has been on the forefront of consumer rights and capabilities, having conducted one of the first and most influential studies on consumer provided mental health services in the 1990s.

Selected Publications

Solomon, P. & Petros, R. (in press). What’s the function of outpatient commitment? Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services.

What is the problem that mandatory community treatment orders are trying to solve? Addressing acute and imminent threats to safety necessitates in-patient commitment; hospital-level of care is required in such scenarios. If a person does not pose an imminent risk of harm to self or others, the underlying concern is promoting long-term recovery and preventing decompensation—both require internal motivation to manage illness and build a life worth living. Community mandated treatment orders are a short-term solution for a long-term goal—a goal that demands a collaborative and supportive approach, engenders empowerment, and encourages a self-directed pursuit of recovery.

Petros, R. & Solomon, P. (2020). Social workers’ propensity to endorse recovery-oriented service provision: A randomized factorial design. British Journal of Social Work, 50, 42-61.

Providers inconsistently provide recovery-oriented services to adults with serious mental illness despite US federal mandate. An online randomized factorial survey was
used to identify and evaluate predictors of social workers’ degree of endorsement of
recovery-oriented service provision. Respondents (N = 107) each rated scale items indicating support for recovery-oriented services for four client vignettes (n = 398) and
completed standardized measures of recovery knowledge and expectations. The final
predictive model was significant, accounting for 61 per cent of the variance
of the degree of endorsement of recovery-oriented services. Recovery knowledge
explains the largest portion of the variance, followed by psychotic symptoms.
The finding that client characteristics predict endorsement of recovery-oriented services
suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of recovery. Recommendations include
training and supervision to enhance application of recovery-oriented principles to service provision.

Kageyama, M. Solomon, P. (2019). Physical violence experienced and witnessed by siblings of persons with Schizophrenia. International Journal of Mental Health, 48(1), 2-13.

Violence by adults with severe mental illness mostly perpetrated against family members, not strangers. The study aimed to clarify rate of violence experienced and/or witnessed by siblings of patients with schizophrenia and factors related to siblings experiencing and/or witnessing violence.

Labrum, T. & Solomon, P. (2017) Rates of victimization of violence committed by relatives with psychiatric disorders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 32(9), 2955-2974.

The article presents results of a national online survey of 573 adults with an adult relative with a psychiatric disorder. Nearly half of all respondents reported being a victim of violence committed by their relative and about a quarter reported being a victim in past 6 months. No statistically significant differences were detected in rates of victimization based on relationship type of respondent to their relative.

Petros, R., Solomon, P. (2015) Reviewing Illness Self-Management Programs: A Selection Guide for Consumers, Practitioners, and Administrators. Psychiatric Services, 66 (11), 1180-1193.

Review of the 5 illness self-management programs for persons with severe mental illness in terms of content, strategies, and evidence of effectiveness, including WRAP and IMR.

Solomon, P., Hanrahan, N., Hurford, M., DeCesaris, M., Josey, L. (2014). Lessons learned from implementing a pilot RCT of Transitional Care Model for Individuals with serious mental illness. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 28, 250-255.

Adapted an EBP for older adults transition from hospital to adults with severe mental illness delivered by a nurse practitioner. Those with pressing physical health problems were most receptive to service. Psychosocial needs and relationship issues most demanding. A team with a social worker and a peer would enhance this intervention.

Solomon, P., Molinaro, M., Mannion, E., Cantwell, K. (2012). Confidentiality policies and practices in regard to family involvement: Does training make a difference? American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 15, 97-115.

Despite evidence that inclusion of family and significant others enhances recovery and other outcomes, misperceptions of confidentiality policies by providers is a barrier to inclusion. Reports on a survey, pilot study, and an evaluation of training of confidentiality policies and regulations.

Solomon, P., Alexander, L., Uhl, S. (2010) The relationship of case managers’ expressed emotion to clients’ outcomes. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 45, 165-173.

Expressed Emotion (EE) has been investigated on a limited basis for non-family members. This study assessed case managers (CM) EE in relation to client outcomes. High EE of CMs was related to negative client attitudes toward adherence to medication, positive number of social contacts and no relationship to quality of life, treatment participation, or satisfaction with case management.

Solomon, P., Cavanaugh, M., Gelles, R. (2005). Family violence among adults with severe mental illness: A neglected area of research. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 6, 40-54.

Review of literature finds that families of adults with severe mental illness have a higher rate of violence, but this is a neglected area of research. Proposes a conceptual framework to stimulate research in this domain.

Solomon, P. (2004) Peer support/peer provider services: Underlying processes, benefits, and critical ingredients. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 27, 392-401. Reprinted in Swarbrick, M., Schmidt, L. (2010) . People in recovery as providers of psychiatric rehabilitation. United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, Linthicum, MD.

Defines peer support/peer provided services, underlying psychosocial processes and delineates benefits to peer providers, those receiving services and mental health delivery system. The critical ingredients of peer provided services, critical characteristics of peer providers, and mental health system principles for achieving maximum benefits are discussed.

Solomon, P., Draine, J., Marcus, S. (2002) Predicting Incarceration of Clients of a Psychiatric Probation and Parole Service. Psychiatric Services, 53, 50-56.

Assessed extent to which clinical characteristics, psychiatric status and mental service use explained incarceration for technical violations rather than new offenses for offenders with severe mental illness. Results are mixed. Services that emphasize monitoring increases risk whereas increased participation and motivation to participate reduces risk of incarceration.

Solomon, P., Draine, J., Mannion, E., Meisel, M. (1997). Effectiveness of two models of brief family education: Retaining gains of family members of adults with serious mental illness. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 67, 177-186.

Three months post family interventions showed an initial effect for improved self-efficacy for families of an adult relative with a severe mental illness and gains were maintained for a 6-month follow-up. However, no significant differences were found between the treated and untreated group at 6-months. Means to refining interventions are discussed to improve gains overtime.

Solomon, P., Draine, J. (1995). One year outcomes of a randomized trial of case management with seriously mentally ill clients leaving jail. Evaluation Review, 19,256-273.

Hypothesized that those who received services from a team of consumer case mangers versus a team of non-consumer case managers would have the same clinical and social outcomes. No differences in most outcomes except less satisfaction with treatment and less family contact with those served by the consumer case managers.

Solomon, P. (1996). Moving from psychoeducation to family education for families of adults with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 47, 1364-1370. Reprinted in a Compendium on Families & Mental Health Treatment, Psychiatric Services Resource Center.

Family psychoeducation programs offered for many years with the primary goals of reducing the adult relatives relapse and rehospitalization rates. More recently family educational interventions provided to improve family’s quality of life by reducing stress and burden and secondarily to benefit the relative with severe mental illness.

Solomon, P. (1992). The efficacy of case management services for severely mentally disabled clients. Community Mental Health Journal, 28, 163-180.

A review of the effectiveness of case management programs/services for adults with severe mental illness.

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