BEHAVIOR CONTROL SELF-HELP GROUPS: MEMBERS' ATTITUDES REGARDING HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS.
AuthorMARQUES, CLARISSA COLELL.
Community health services -- Citizen participation.
Public health -- Evaluation.
Medical care -- Evaluation.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe demand for human services has grown exponentially in recent years. Self-help groups now fill the gap between consumer needs and the reach of traditional health care. This study examines the perception of the members of these groups toward the professional community. Four self-help groups, all based on principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and all primarily concerned with the control of excessive behavior were examined: (1) Parents Anonymous (PA), (2) Overeaters Anonymous (OA), (3) Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and (4) Narcotics Anonymous (NA). A 60 item questionnaire was designed to obtain the following information: (1) demographic, (2) membership participation, (3) professional contact, and (4) attitude expression regarding respondents' perception of their particular self-help group, perceptions of health care professionals and perceptions of society's beliefs regarding their behavior. Among the 110 respondents from the four groups responding to the questionnaire, (overall return rate of 52%), there was strong support of the methods and conduct of the self-help groups. Criticism of the self-help groups was negligible. Criticism of the health care community was consistently strong, although respondents indicated relatively high usage of health care providers. The respondents from all four groups appeared to support any individual member's decision to pursue whatever assistance that individual might deem necessary, but maintained firm delineation between the individual's freedom to choose alternative or adjunctive assistance and the group's decision to remain "forever nonprofessional". Despite a common theoretical background, the groups have developed in different directions. PA, which has included health care professionals as group sponsors since its inception, was more open to professional involvement in group affairs than the others and cited a higher rate of professional referral to the group. OA, with less mental health contact and with more medical involvement, expressed greater reluctance to involve professionals in any aspect of the group's activities. AA and NA tended to take more intermediate positions, however, both groups were firmly against professional involvement in group activities. Information of this nature may assist professionals and self-help groups in developing a collaborative and respectful working relationship.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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