Article

Factors That Explain How Policy Makers Distribute Resources to Mental Health Services

Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, University of Chicago, 7230 Arbor Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477, USA.
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 1.99). 05/2003; 54(4):501-7. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.54.4.501
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Advocates hope to influence the resource allocation decisions of legislators and other policy makers to capture more resources for mental health programs. Findings from social psychological research suggest factors that, if pursued, may improve advocacy efforts. In particular, allocation decisions are affected by policy makers' perceptions of the scarcity of resources, effectiveness of specific programs, needs of people who have problems that are served by these programs, and extent of personal responsibility for these problems. These perceptions are further influenced by political ideology. Conservatives are motivated by a tendency to punish persons who are perceived as having personal responsibility for their problems by withholding resources, whereas liberals are likely to avoid tough allocation decisions. Moreover, these perceptions are affected by political accountability, that is, whether politicians perceive that their constituents will closely monitor their decisions. Just as the quality of clinical interventions improves when informed by basic research on human behavior, the efforts of mental health advocates will be advanced when they understand the psychological forces that affect policy makers' decisions about resources.

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    • "Over the last decade in particular, the barriers to research translation in health policy have been understood as being about a wide range of factors such as the inherently political nature of policy-making [31], the differing strategic priorities of policy [32], the difficulty of capturing different stakeholder interests that lie outside ‘best practice evidence’ [33], and the ‘real world’ contextual constraints of policy decision-making [34]. The ‘two worlds’ view of the evidence-policy divide—that policy-makers are from Mars and researchers are from Venus—has appeared to dominate ways of understanding the evidence-policy divide [35]. "
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