Making it sane :the participation benefits of consumer run organizations

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Brown, Louis D.
Meissen, Gregory J.

The goal of this study is to develop a robust theory that explains how participation in a Consumer-Run Organization (CRO) can lead to positive individual outcomes. To accomplish this goal, existing theoretical explanations are reviewed. Using the previously unapplied theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism and more specifically, Stryker’s Identity Theory, these varying theoretical explanations are then integrated to create a model explaining how CROs can contribute to positive outcomes. This theoretical model is then empirically explored through two separate studies. The first uses open-ended short answer questions to understand how CRO members benefit from participation. The second uses participant observation and minimally structured interviews to generate life stories that explore how CRO participation has altered an individual’s life course. The original explanatory model proved helpful but partially inadequate in accounting for the results. This leads to model revisions and the development of a more robust theoretical explanation of how CRO lead to positive outcomes. Discussion focuses on explaining this revised explanatory model, exploring how it does and does not account for the results.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology
"December 2005."