Below is the abstract for this study:
OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the relationship between the outcomes of clients of client-run self-help agencies and attendance at the agency, satisfaction with the agency, psychological disability, and organizationally mediated empowerment, that is, the provision of opportunities for clients to meaningfully participate in decisions about their care and the care of others in the agency. The outcomes assessed were independent social functioning, assisted social functioning, and personal empowerment. METHODS: A total of 255 long-term users of four self-help agencies were interviewed at baseline and six months later. Univariate descriptive analyses as well as t tests describing changes in outcomes were conducted. The relationship of each of the four determinants to the three outcomes, after controlling for baseline status on the given outcome and other covariates, was assessed with structural modeling using Amos software. RESULTS: On average, personal empowerment among the clients of the self-help agencies increased, independent social functioning remained the same, and assisted social functioning decreased during the six-month follow-up period. Multivariate analyses showed a positive association between organizationally mediated empowerment and all three outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The significant ingredient promoting positive outcomes for clients of self-help agencies appears to be the provision of opportunities for clients to meaningfully participate in decisions about their care and the care of others in the organization.
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