UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Center for Mental Health Services Research; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Self-Help Groups


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


User-run programs have proliferated in the past 10 years, yet there are few empirically-based studies about them. A survey of self-help programs was undertaken to increase our understanding about the users of such programs, their demographics, and their perceptions of how such programs have affected the quality of their lives. Respondents were also asked about their satisfaction with user-run programs. The study was conducted using a Participatory Action Research paradigm (Whyte, 1991), using an advisory committee of persons who have used such pro­grams, and with the intention of developing an evaluation methodology that could be replicated in future studies of user-run programs. Despite limitations in representativeness, these survey results are useful in understanding the perceptions of self-help members. Results of the survey and the methodology are discussed.


Chamberlin, J., Rogers, E., Ellison, M. (1996). Self-help programs: A description of their characteristics and their members. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 19(3), 33-42. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal


At the time of publication, Marsha Langer Ellison was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.