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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 872146, 13 pages
Review Article

From Sociocultural Disintegration to Community Connectedness Dimensions of Local Community Concepts and Their Effects on Psychological Health of Its Residents

1Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
2Nordliveien 6, 1482 Nittedal, Norway
3Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
4Psychology, St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI, USA
5Research Assistant, Division of Research, North Coast Psychiatry, Nittedal, Norway

Received 22 November 2012; Revised 8 April 2013; Accepted 30 April 2013

Academic Editor: Petros Skapinakis

Copyright © 2013 Tom Sørensen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In a series of community mental health promotion studies in Lofoten, Norway, the concept of sociocultural integration is used to describe properties of a local community that are related to people's psychological health. Starting with Durkheim's description of a cohesive society, we compare different concepts that are related to sociocultural integration, for example, sense of community, social capital, and social cohesion. We then examine the relationship of various individual oriented social psychological concepts to sociocultural integration. These concepts often share theoretical and operational definitions. The concept of sociocultural integration in the Lofoten studies was proved to be very valuable in understanding how the properties of a community can affect people's mental health and their social psychological properties. It has also shown its value in the planning of mental health services and demonstrating its success in concrete community-based mental health promotion projects. Thus they could make important contributions to further studies and actions in local communities where the intersection between the individual, their social network, and their local community occurs.