CROs as activity settings: The impact of peer support and setting resource characteristics on member participation and sense of community
Community-based mental health services such as consumer-run organizations (CROs) have been shown to yield positive community integration outcomes for individuals who actively participate in these services. However, CROs have been historically underutilized despite having a growing evidence base that supports the financial and programmatic effectiveness of these consumer-driven services. Little is known about the organizational, social, and psychological factors that help engage mental health consumers in these organizations. The current study used the activity setting framework to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the organizational resources and peer support processes that impact members' sense of community and organizational participation in CROs. Interviews, setting observations, and survey methods were used to collect data on 16 CROs located across the state. Descriptive, correlational, and stepwise regression analyses were conducted to identify key characteristics that positively impact member outcomes. The activity setting framework provided a comprehensive lens for which to assess CROs. Results showed that organizational climate had the strongest impact on sense of community, while member characteristics (e.g., length of CRO membership and frequency of attendance) had stronger influences on organizational participation. CRO responsiveness was also a predictor of both sense of community and organizational participation. Suggestions are provided to help improve CRO practices and maximize member benefits from participation in these organizations.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology