These reviews were done by Sharon Togut, Research Analyst for ROW Sciences while working on SAMHSA current grant project. Thought that it was interesting and potentially useful in background work on Out Patient Commitment being presented as THE answer to clients' problems.

Research Reviews

Mental Health Groups

Edmunson, E. D., J. R. Bedell, et al. (1982). Integrating Skill Building and Peer Support in Mental Health Treatment: The Early Intervention and Community Network Development Projects. Community Mental Health and Behavioral Ecology. A. M. Jeger and R. S. Slotnick. New York: Plenum Press: 127-139.

• After ten months of participation in a patient-led, professionally supervised social network enhancement group, one-half as many former psychiatric inpatients (N@) required rehospitalization as did non-participants (N@). Participants in the patient-led network also had much shorter average hospital stays (7 days vs. 25 days). Furthermore, a higher percentage of members than non-members could function with no contact with the mental health system (53% vs. 23%).

Galanter, M. (1988). Zealous Self-Help Groups as Adjuncts to Psychiatric Treatment: A Study of Recovery, Inc. American Journal of Psychiatry 145(10): 1248-1253.

• This study surveyed 356 members of Recovery, Inc., a self-help group for nervous and former mental patients, and compared them to a 195 community residents of similar age and sex. Although about half of the Recovery Inc. members had been hospitalized before joining, only 8% of group leaders and 7% of recent members had been hospitalized since joining. Members used more outpatient non-psychiatric resources than did the community sample.

Kennedy, M. (1990). Psychiatric Hospitalizations of GROWers. Paper presented at the Second Biennial Conference on Community Research and Action, East Lansing, Michigan.

• This study found that 31 members of GROW, a self-help organization for people with chronic psychiatric problems, spent significantly fewer days in a psychiatric hospital over a 32-month period than did 31 former psychiatric patients of similar age, race, sex, marital status, number of previous hospitalizations and other factors. Members also increased their sense of security and self-esteem, decreased their existential anxiety, broadened their sense of spirituality, and increased their ability to accept problems without blaming self or others for them.

Kurtz, L. F. (1988). Mutual Aid for Affective Disorders: The Manic Depressive and Depressive Association. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 58(1): 152-155.

• This study found that 82% of 129 members of the Manic Depressive and Depressive Association reported coping better with their illness since joining the self-help group. The longer they were members and the more intensely they were involved with the group, the more their coping had improved. Further, the percentage of members reporting being admitted to a psychiatric hospital before joining the group was 82%, but the percentage reporting hospital admission after joining was only 33%.

Lieberman, M. A., Solow, N. et al. (1979). "The psychotherapeutic impact of women's consciousness-raising groups." Archives of General Psychiatry 36: 161-168.

• 32 participants in women's consciousness-raising groups were studied over a 6 month period. Over the course of the study, participants reported decreased distress about their target problem, increased self-esteem, and greater self-reliance. They also reported greater identification with feminist values and politics.

Raiff, N. R. (1984). "Some Health Related Outcomes of Self-Help Participation." Chapter 14 in The Self-Help Revolution, edited by Alan Gartner and Frank Riessman. New York: Human Sciences Press.

• Highly involved members of Recovery, Inc. (N93, mostly female and married), a self-help group for former mental patients, reported no more anxiety about their health than did the general population. Members who had participated for two years or more had the lowest levels of worry and the highest levels of satisfaction with their health. Members also rated their life satisfaction levels as high or higher than did the general public. Members who had participated less than two years, were still on medication, lived below the poverty level, or lacked social-network involvements also appeared to benefit from group participation, although to a lesser degree.