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Systematizing knowledge of user influence: A study of user advisory boards in substance abuse and mental health services
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0790-9386
2016 (English)In: Social Policy & Administration, ISSN 0144-5596, E-ISSN 1467-9515, Vol. 50, no 3, 336-352 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While there is a great deal of interest in, and literature describing user influence in mental health and substance abuse services at the individual level, there are fewer studies of collective user influence at the organizational level. This article presents the findings of a study of the development of user advisory councils in regional organizations providing substance abuse services, which were part of a national implementation project in Sweden. A survey of both users and professionals involved in the local projects, in addition to interviews with key actors at the national level, were completed and analyzed with reference to the results of a literature review. The overall aim of the study was to identify obstacles and success factors related to the development of collective user influence at the programme and system levels. The results indicated that there was an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards experience-based knowledge and the potential for developing formal, collective user influence in these organizations. Users and professionals had common viewpoints regarding the obstacles and success factors, which included: addressing power relations, establishing legitimacy, assigning resources, investing in sustainability and planning for real participation. They were also substantially in agreement as to the strategies that would be needed in the future in order to move from ideology to action. These factors form the basis for a model that might be used to support the systematic implementation of this type of organized user influence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 50, no 3, 336-352 p.
Keyword [en]
User influence, User participation, Advisory council, Mental health administration, Substance abuse services, Consumer influence
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96292DOI: 10.1111/spol.12113ISI: 000373681800003OAI: diva2:763895
Available from: 2014-11-17 Created: 2014-11-17 Last updated: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved

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