Date of Conferral
Dr. Stephen Rice
In recent years, family support partners (FSPs) have been hired to work in the behavioral health care system for the state in which this study was conducted. FSPs are legacy caregivers, meaning they have raised a child with a mental health illness. At the time of this study, there was not a set criterion in the state to measure the effectiveness or benefits of FSPs working with families. The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study was to determine whether a caregiver's level of empowerment, as measured by the Family Empowerment Scale (FES), was increased through working with an FSP. Social learning theory provided the framework for the study. Survey data were collected from 93 caregivers using the FES. Simultaneous multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine the predictive relationship between the caregiver's gender, age, ethnicity, length of time as a caregiver of a child or youth with a mental health illness, and length of time the caregiver worked with an FSP, and the level of caregiver empowerment on the family, service system, and community/political levels. On the family level, caregiver age and length of time the caregiver worked with an FSP were statistically significant predictors. On the service system level, length of time the caregiver worked with an FSP was a statistically significant predictor. On the community/political level, caregiver age, ethnicity, and length of time the caregiver worked with an FSP were statistically significant predictors. Length of time the caregiver worked with an FSP was the only variable shown to be statistically significant on all 3 levels. Findings may be used to support peer specialists in the state this study was conducted and other states, not only in the mental health field, but in additional fields as well.