The Effects of Consumer vs. Staff Administration on the Measurement of Consumer Satisfaction with Psychiatric Rehabilitation

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The nearly uniform positive results of consumer satisfaction surveys call into question their utility as a viable outcome measure for psychiatric rehabilitation. Participants consistently exhibit this positive response tendency regardless of the quality of service being rated. A particular concern is that staff administration of these measures may bias results in a positive direction. Using two different satisfaction instruments, members of seven psychiatric rehabilitation day programs were randomly assigned to either staff administration or administration by fellow consumers. It was predicted that consumer-administered questionnaires would have lower scores. The results showed that consumer administration did not uniformly result in lower ratings. Instead, a statistically significant interaction of administrator (staff vs. consumers) by program was found. The findings suggested that the personnel who administer these surveys do affect satisfaction scores, but these effects systematically vary from program to program.

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