Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Consumer Operated Services Multi-Site Research Project:

Examining the effects of consumer run programs




1999 - 2004


This project was part of an multi-site, nationwide research study funded by the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA. The goals of this study were to examine the effects of consumer operated programs on the following outcomes: employment, housing, empowerment, social inclusion, and satisfaction with services. In addition, costs were evaluated.

The St. Louis Empowerment Center and Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation formed a partnership to study the effects of attending a consumer-operated drop-in center. The St. Louis Empowerment Center is a consumer controlled and operated drop-in center with four components: A Drop-In Center, Self-Help Groups, Peer Support and a Friendship Line. It is a joint program of the Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (DMDA) and the Mental Health Association of Greater St. Louis. The Peer Run Drop-In Center is open 365 days a year. It provides a clean, safe, and drug- and alcohol-free environment with participatory decision making and self-help/mutual assistance. Support groups and educational programs are provided as are meals, social activities, clothes-washing facilities, and other amenities. The Center also operates a Friendship Line to combat feelings of social isolation and loneliness that occur among consumers. The peer support program matches individual Peer Support workers with consumers who would like a “buddy”. Together, the pair participates in recreational and social activities.

For this study, 240 consumers were recruited from two traditional mental health providers: BJC Behavioral Health and Places for People and were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Both groups continued to receive traditional services and the experimental group members were invited to attend the St. Louis Empowerment Center. The effects of the consumer operated program on the outcomes listed above were assessed through three face-to-face interviews with consumers over the course of a year.


Site Principal Investigator: E. Sally Rogers, Sc.D.

This is a multi-site study. Please contact the Center investigator for additional information.


See the following publications:

Rogers ES, Ralph RO, Salzer MS. (2010). Validating the empowerment scale with a multisite sample of consumers of mental health services. Psychiatric Services. 61(9):933-6. doi: 10.1176/ps.2010.61.9.933. PubMed PMID: 20810594.

Rogers ES, Teague GB, Lichenstein C, Campbell J, Lyass A, Chen R, Banks S. (2007). Effects of participation in consumer-operated service programs on both personal and organizationally mediated empowerment: results of multisite study. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 44(6):785-99. PubMed PMID: 18075937.

Inquiries related to the project should be addressed to:

E. Sally Rogers, Sc.D.
Boston University, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
940 Commonwealth Avenue West, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02215