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Am J Community Psychol. 1989 Oct;17(5):643-71.

Factors affecting the birth and death of mutual-help groups: the role of national affiliation, professional involvement, and member focal problem.

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  • 1Psychology Department, University of Maryland Baltimore County 21228.


Examined the predictive relationship of three variables to the birth and death of mutual-help groups for a statewide New Jersey sample of 3,152 groups over a 2-year period. The three variables studied were group affiliation with a national mutual-help organization, local professional involvement in group activities, and group members' type of focal problem. Log-linear logit analysis revealed that the best-fitting model included Affiliation Status x Professional Involvement, and Affiliation Status x Focal Problem interactions. Among unaffiliated groups, professional involvement was related to lower group mortality, while among affiliated groups it was related to higher group mortality. Unaffiliated behavior control groups had higher odds for mortality and for birth than either unaffiliated life stress groups or unaffiliated medical groups. Among main effect findings, unaffiliated groups had consistently higher odds for birth than affiliated groups. The implications for research and action are discussed.

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