Peer Support Outcomes Assessment Protocol
Jean Campbell, Ph.D.
The Peer Support Outcomes Protocol (POP) Project involves developing, field-testing, and disseminating an evaluation protocol to measure
service and programmatic outcomes for community-based peer support programs. Specific outcome areas that are measured in the POP include: recovery, independence, empowerment, employment, independent
living, and cultural and gender sensitivity, among others. The project has been largely designed, directed, and implemented by consumer/survivor researchers, advocates, and providers. As such, the POP
reflects specific areas of concern to individuals with psychiatric disability who are served in the public system. Several phases of the project have been completed.
First Project Phase
During the first project phase, Dr. Campbell designed and administered a data needs telephone survey to 40 peer-run programs across the
country. Her findings were summarized in a report entitled, The Data Needs of Community-Based Peer Support Programs, which is made available by the UIC NRTC. This effort represents the first survey of consumer-run programs' computer and research needs to be conducted in the United States on such a wide scale.
Also during the first phase, Dr. Campbell convened a group of mental health consumers and nonconsumers in Missouri to generate potential items to develop the POP. She led a two-day concept mapping
meeting, in which domains for outcome evaluation were identified, ranked in their importance, and analyzed to generate a three-dimensional map showing the relationships of domains to each other. This analysis
also helped to generate draft items to represent each of the domains for the POP. Following the concept mapping process, she prepared a report detailing her findings, which is made available via the UIC
Based upon the concept mapping report and input from her project's external National Advisory Board, Dr. Campbell constructed a first draft of the POP. The resulting draft is a modularized instrument
including the following sections: demographics (updated longitudinally); ancillary services; recovery, personhood, and empowerment; hospitalization; employment; housing and community integration; quality of
life and well-being; perceptions of health; social support; crime and violence; and peer program satisfaction. Each outcome domain is measured with objective as well as subjective items. Self-report
items ask specifically about the effects of peer support on the particular outcome in question.
Second Project Phase
During the second project phase, the POP consumer research team conducted the preliminary field-test of the protocol with six respondents
from the most active self-help mental health center in St. Louis. The field-test obtained feedback about the POP from peer recipients, including the length of the survey, the appropriateness of the modules and
specific survey items, ease of understanding (for face-to-face and telephone versions), and reading level (for mail version). In addition, the clarity of instructions for interviewers and respondents,
interview flow, scaled response set, skip patterns, and the three types of protocol administration were assessed. Based on this field-test and extensive consultation with UIC NRTC collaborators, the POP
consumer research team revised the POP.
This version of the POP was reviewed by an external panel of six leading researchers in mental health services outcome assessment and program evaluation across the country. Several of these were
consumer researchers on faculty at universities or employed in a clubhouse research unit. These experts commented on the protocol's overall organization, clarity of items and instructions, respondent burden,
consumer sensitivity, and ease of administration. These comments were carefully reviewed and responded to by both Dr. Campbell's research team and the UIC NRTC staff. The field-testable version of the
POP was finalized on the basis of this review.
Third Project Phase
During the third project phase, Dr. Campbell and her team developed an Interviewers' Training Manual
to be used in training consumer interviewers. This 80-page manual cover topics such as an interviewer's responsibilities in administering a research protocol, procedures to obtain informed consent, strategies for asking questions appropriately and sensitively, methods for tracking completed and outstanding interviews, and techniques for debriefing research participants. This manual was carefully reviewed by experienced interviewers at the UIC NRTC and their comments were incorporated into a revised version.
Also during this phase, Dr. Campbell and her colleagues conducted a two and a half day interviewer training session with nine consumers. The training session was very interactive, and participants
offered suggestions to improve the manual. Following the training session, four interviewers have begun the field-test of the protocol at the St. Louis Empowerment Center. Debriefing meetings are held
bi-weekly and interviewers are encouraged to share interviewing experiences and insight about the POP and its methodology. The members of the St. Louis Empowerment Center have offered very positive support for
the protocol and the project.
To date, over 118 interviews (88 first interviews and 30 re-tests) have been completed and edited for the field-test. Analysis of the psychometric properties of the POP will be conducted during the
upcoming final phase of the project.
If you are interested in obtaining copies of any of the following materials, please email the Dissemination Administrator, Tina Carter, or phone him at
- Peer Support Outcomes Protocol
- Interviewers' Training Manual
- The Data Needs of Community-Based Peer Support Programs Report (Jean Campbell, Ph.D.)
- Concept Mapping Data: Peer Support National Database Development Project (Jean Campbell, Ph.D.)
The UIC NRTC also has the following related materials available from the Publications page. Click on the links to read a description of each manual.
Ruth Ralph, Ph.D. J. Rock Johnson Ann Loder
Carolyn Kaufmann, Ph.D. William David Gettys Judy Chamberlin
Jeanne Dumont, Ph.D. Ron Schraiber Gayle Bluebird
Jacki McKinney Gilberto Romero Karen Hirsch