chapter  11
16 Pages

Social Climate Correlates of Effectiveness in Alliance for the Mentally Ill Groups

SUMMARY. Toexamine howvarious socialclimate characteristics predict group effectiveness (i.e., overall strength, and benefits and

satisfaction members experience) in Alliance for the Mentally III (AMI) mutual help groups, information on the group climate and effectiveness of all 22 AMI affiliates in Indiana was gathered using two independent procedures: (1) rank-and-file members from each affiliate (N = 221) provided demographic information and completedMaton's (1988) 43-itemmeasure of socialclimate (including perceived benefits andsatisfaction), and (2) affiliate leaders supplied information on the human and material resources available to their groups plus an overall assessment of the group's current strength. From both member and leader perspectives, social climate experiences of members were strong predictors of AMI group effectiveness, while material resources and member demographics were not. Support Received, Leadership, and Order/organization were especiallyimportant, whileextramural contactamong members wasconsistently unrelated to group effectiveness. Efforts to initiate and/or increase theeffectiveness of AMIgroups shouldfocus on the leadership,internal structure, support activities, androleopportunities providedto members.