Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 420–430 | Cite as

Consumer Empowerment and Self-Advocacy Outcomes in a Randomized Study of Peer-Led Education

  • Susan A. Pickett
  • Sita M. Diehl
  • Pamela J. Steigman
  • Joy D. Prater
  • Anthony Fox
  • Patricia Shipley
  • Dennis D. Grey
  • Judith A. Cook
Original Paper


This study examined the effectiveness of the Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals (BRIDGES) peer-led education intervention in empowering mental health consumers to become better advocates for their own care. A total of 428 adults with mental illness were randomly assigned to BRIDGES (intervention condition) or a services as usual wait list (control condition). Interviews were conducted at enrollment, at the end of the intervention, and 6-months post-intervention. Random regression results indicate that, compared to controls, BRIDGES participants experienced significant increases in overall empowerment, empowerment-self-esteem, and self-advocacy-assertiveness, and maintained these improved outcomes over time. Peer-led education interventions may provide participants with the information, skills and support they need to become more actively involved in the treatment decision-making process.


Peer-led education interventions Consumer empowerment Patient self-advocacy Recovery education 



Funded by the US Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, under Cooperative Agreement H133B05003B. The views expressed in this manuscript do not reflect the policy or position of any Federal agency.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan A. Pickett
    • 1
  • Sita M. Diehl
    • 2
  • Pamela J. Steigman
    • 1
  • Joy D. Prater
    • 3
  • Anthony Fox
    • 3
  • Patricia Shipley
    • 1
  • Dennis D. Grey
    • 1
  • Judith A. Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.National Alliance on Mental IllnessArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Tennessee Mental Health Consumers AssociationNashvilleUSA

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