A Comparison of Participant Information Elicited by Service User and Non-Service User Researchers

Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom.
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) (Impact Factor: 2.41). 02/2011; 62(2):210-3. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


The study examined whether data collected by researchers who were service users differed from data collected by non-service user researchers in a study that measured perceived coercion.
Over two years, 548 inpatients in England were interviewed during their first week of compulsory admission to a psychiatric bed at three regional mental health provider settings. Each site had one service user researcher and one nonuser researcher. The dependent variables were two measures of perceived coercion. Service users disclosed their status, including past hospitalization, to 93 of the 242 (38%) patients they interviewed.
No differences were found on either variable between the three researcher categories (nondisclosed user, disclosed user, and nonuser researcher). An interaction with site was noted, and possible interpretations of this finding are discussed.
Further research is needed to determine the conditions under which service user researchers obtain information that differs from that obtained by nonuser researchers.

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    • "Although it is still early days, service-user and carer involvement is now generally accepted as having benefits for clinical research. Deriving evidence for effectiveness in improving research is complex and context dependent, with service-user involvement taking place at different stages and with different expectations ; for example, there are different purposes of involvement – improving the practical aspects of the study thus enhancing recruitment (Donovan et al. 2002), choosing appropriate outcome measures (Crawford et al. 2011), improving data acquisition or interpretation (Gillard et al. 2010 ; Rose et al. 2011), and so on. These require different methods of evaluation. "
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Service users may express positive, ambivalent, or negative views of their hospital admission. The objective of this study was to determine whether the background of the interviewer-service user-researcher or clinician-influences the information elicited. The primary outcome was the level of perceived coercion on admission, and secondary outcomes were perceived pressures on admission, procedural justice, perceived necessity for admission, satisfaction with services, and willingness to consent to participate in the study. METHODS: Participants voluntarily and involuntarily admitted to three hospitals in Ireland were randomly allocated to be interviewed at hospital discharge by either a service user-researcher or a clinician. Interviewers used the MacArthur Admission Experience Survey and the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. RESULTS: A total of 161 participants were interviewed. No differences by interviewer status or by admission status (involuntary or voluntary) were found in levels of perceived coercion, perceived pressures, procedural justice, perceived necessity, or satisfaction with services. Service users were more likely to decline to participate if their consent was sought by a service user-researcher (24% versus 8%, p=.003). CONCLUSIONS: Most interviewees gave positive accounts of their admission regardless of interviewer status. The findings indicate that clinicians and researchers can be more confident that service users' positive accounts of admissions are not attributable to a response bias. Researchers can also feel more confident in directly comparing the results of studies undertaken by clinicians and by service user-researchers.
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