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Volume 44 Number 6, 2007
Pages 785 — 800


Abstract - Effects of participation in consumer-operated service programs on both personal and organizationally mediated empowerment: Results of multisite study

E. Sally Rogers, ScD;1* Gregory B. Teague, PhD;2 Carolyn Lichenstein, PhD;3 Jean Campbell, PhD;4 Asya Lyass, MA;1 Ren Chen, MS;5 Steven Banks, PhD6†

1Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University, Boston, MA; 2Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; 3Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc, Sacramento, CA; 4Program in Consumer Studies and Training, Missouri Institute of Mental Health, University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO; 5Policy and Services Research Data Center, Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; 6Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

Abstract — The number of empowerment-oriented consumer-operated service programs (COSPs) in mental health has increased dramatically over the past decade; however, little empirical evidence exists about the effects of such programs on their intended outcomes. This study examined the effects of COSPs on various aspects of empowerment within the context of a multisite, federally funded, randomized clinical trial of COSPs. Results suggest that the individuals who received the consumer-operated services perceived higher levels of personal empowerment than those in the control intervention; overall, effect sizes were very modest when all sites were examined together in intent-to-treat analyses. However, we noted variations in outcomes by intensity of COSP use and also by study site, which suggest that specific programs had significant effects, while others did not. The implications of these results for the mental health field and for service providers and policy makers are discussed.

Clinical Trial Registration: The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has proposed a policy for the registration of clinical trials stating that any trial enrolling participants after July 1, 2005, should be registered. For trials that began enrollment before this date, the ICMJE member journals required registration by September 13, 2005. This study was funded from 1998 until 2004 and thus was concluded before the development of the ICMJE policy on registration. Therefore, this study was not registered as a clinical trial.

Key words: consumer-operated service programs, effectiveness, empowerment, mental health, multisite trial, mutual help, organizationally mediated empowerment, personal empowerment, randomized clinical trial, rehabilitation.


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