A topography of self-help groups: an empirical analysis
Wituk, Scott A.
Shepherd, Matthew D.
Meissen, Gregory J.
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Wituk S, MD Shepherd, S Slavich, ML Warren, and G Meissen. 2000. "A topography of self-help groups: an empirical analysis". Social Work. 45 (2): 157-65.
The current managed health care system creates an environment in which social workers need to be knowledgeable about low-cost interventions. Self-help groups have the potential to be beneficial to social workers' clients. Surprisingly, little is known about the characteristics and activities of many groups and the extent to which groups receive guidance and support from professionals and established national and local organizations. Whereas many social workers are aware of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there are thousands of other types of groups that could be helpful to their clients. This study examines the member and group characteristics, professional involvement, and local and national affiliations of 253 self-help groups. Results suggested that many groups have shared leadership, recruit group members, receive assistance from professionals, and receive guidance from national and local organizations. Results are discussed in terms of how social workers can assist and use self-help groups in the current managed health care system.
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