The lifespan and life-cycle of self-help groups: a retrospective study of groups in Nottingham, UK

Chaudhary, Sarah and Avis, Mark and Munn-Giddings, Carol (2010) The lifespan and life-cycle of self-help groups: a retrospective study of groups in Nottingham, UK. Health & Social Care in the Community, 18 (4). pp. 346-354. ISSN 1365-2524

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This article is based on an analysis of a practice database held by Self Help Nottingham, an organisation that supports local self-help groups. The database contains details of 936 groups that closed between 1982 and 2007. The aim of the study is to provide qualitative and descriptive quantitative information about the life-cycles of self-help groups, the problems that they face throughout their existence and the likelihood of different problems leading to their closure. The database was not collated for research purposes and so we restrict our discussion of the findings to identification of broad patterns regarding the birth and closure rates of different types of group and questions for future research. Comparisons were made between groups that addressed different types of problem, groups with different memberships and groups that had reached different stages in their existence. There was reasonable consistency in the survival rates of different types of group with physical health groups being the most likely to reach maturity followed by mental health and lastly social issue groups. Survival rates for groups that serve different membership populations were reasonably constant although there were some anomalies. There were high levels of consistency regarding the reasons for closure for groups closing at different stages of maturity. The most commonly cited reasons among all groups were the withdrawal of a ‘key’ member and a decline in membership. The article suggests that some of the assumptions and prescriptions within the existing literature need to be considered in light of more detailed empirical evidence, and it raises questions about the theoretical understanding of self-help groups.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: self-help
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2010 14:28
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:18

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