Impact of Consumer-Operated Services on Empowerment and Recovery of People With Psychiatric Disabilities

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ObjectiveAlthough the professional literature is replete with descriptions of consumer-operated services, empirical examination of these services has been relatively limited. In this study, the cross-sectional relationship between participation in consumer-operated services and measures of recovery and empowerment is examined.MethodsA total of 1,824 people with psychiatric disability indicated whether they had participated in a peer support program (the proxy of consumer-operated services) during the past four months. They also were administered two five-factor measures of recovery and of empowerment.ResultsParticipation in peer support was associated with nine of ten factors generated by the recovery and empowerment instruments. These associations remained significant when commensurate demographic variables were controlled for.ConclusionsParticipation in peer support showed a significant association with multiple outcome and recovery subscales, but the magnitude of the effect was small. The associative nature of the data precludes stating that peer support caused the observed improvement.

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