Date: 19 Jun 2008

Characteristics of Users of Consumer-Run Drop-In Centers Versus Clubhouses

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Clubhouses and consumer-run drop-in centers (CRDIs) are two of the most widely implemented models of consumer-centered services for persons with serious mental illness. Differences in structure and goals suggest that they may be useful to different types of consumers. Information on what types of consumers use which programs would be useful in service planning. This study analyzes data from the authors’ NIMH-funded research on 31 geographically matched pairs of clubhouses and CRDIs involving more than 1,800 consumers to address the following question: are there significant differences in the characteristics and outcomes of members of clubhouses versus CRDIs? Results from multilevel analyses indicated that clubhouse members were more likely to be female, to receive SSI/SSDI, to report having a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and to live in dependent care; and they reported both a greater number of lifetime hospitalizations and current receipt of higher intensity traditional MH services. Controlling for differences in demographic characteristics, psychiatric history, and mental health service receipt, clubhouse members also reported higher quality of life and were more likely to report being in recovery. CRDI consumers were more likely to have substance abuse histories. Possible reasons for the differences are discussed. The results suggest that CRDIs are a viable alternative to more traditional mental health services for individuals who might not otherwise receive mental health services.

Carol T. Mowbray is deceased.