Purpose – This research considers how self-help groups (SHGs) and self-help organizations (SHOs) contribute to consumerist trends in two different societies: United States…
Purpose – This research considers how self-help groups (SHGs) and self-help organizations (SHOs) contribute to consumerist trends in two different societies: United States and United Kingdom. How do the health care systems and the voluntary sectors affect the kinds of social changes that SHGs/SHOs make?
Methodology/approach – A review of research on the role of SHGs/SHOs in contributing to national health social movements in the UK and US was made. Case studies of the UK and the US compare the characteristics of their health care systems and their voluntary sector. Research reviews of two community level self-help groups in each country describe the kinds of social changes they made.
Findings – The research review verified that SHGs/SHOs contribute to national level health social movements for patient consumerism. The case studies showed that community level SHGs/SHOs successfully made the same social changes but on a smaller scale as the national movements, and the health care system affects the kinds of community changes made.
Research limitations – A limited number of SHGs/SHOs within only two societies were studied. Additional SHGs/SHOs within a variety of societies need to be studied.
Originality/value of chapter – Community SHGs/SHOs are often trivialized by social scientists as just inward-oriented support groups, but this chapter shows that local groups contribute to patient consumerism and social changes but in ways that depend on the kind of health care system and societal context.