Understanding the role of individual consumer-provider relationships within assertive community treatment

Victoria Stanhope, Jason Matejkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The widespread adoption of assertive community treatment has resulted in a shift from an individual model to a team model of case management. The shift has had implications for individual relationships between case managers and consumers, but still little is known about how these relationships develop in teams. This exploratory mixed methods study looked at how case managers and consumers negotiate individual relationships within a team model. Quantitative methods identified high and low service intensity relationships between consumers and case managers and qualitative methods explored and compared these relationships. Consumers in high service intensity relationships described a preference for certain case managers and the burden of working with multiple people. Case managers invested high service intensity relationships with special therapeutic value, articulated the challenges of coordinating care across the team, and utilized team limit setting techniques. In contrast, low service intensity relationships were more likely to reflect integration with the entire team. Findings suggest that teams need to consider how individual relationships enhance care for their consumers and how to nurture these relationships while maintaining the support necessary for case managers and consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity mental health journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Assertive community treatment
  • Case management services
  • Homelessness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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