Introduction

The International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (IAPSRS) has as one of its primary missions the task of developing Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) as a professional discipline. To that end, they have for several years been working towards the development of a comprehensive set of workforce competencies that could be utilized as standards in the certification of PSR workers. This task has become even more pressing in view of the national efforts to develop comprehensive health insurance coverage in the United States (The White House Domestic Policy Council, 1993). It is essential that professional standards for PSR be clearly delineated if PSR is to be included as a service that is covered under national health insurance.

In recent years, there have been a several efforts to elucidate PSR workforce competencies or competencies for related endeavors that might be relevant (Curtis, 1993; Friday and McPheeters, 1985; Jonikas, 1993; IAPSRS Ontario Chapter, 1992). To move the process along, IAPSRS contracted with the Thresholds Research and Training Center on Rehabilitation and Mental Illness to: a) review the literature on PSR competencies and develop a paper that integrated that literature; and b) conduct a concept mapping project with a selected national group of PSR experts designed to elucidate a comprehensive framework of competencies. The Jonikas (1993) document constituted the literature review. This report describes the concept mapping project that was undertaken.

Concept mapping is a process that can be used to help a group describe its ideas on any topic of interest (Trochim, 1989a). The process typically requires the participants to brainstorm a large set of statements relevant to the topic of interest, individually sort these statements into piles of similar ones and rate each statement on some scale, and interpret the maps that result from the data analyses. The analyses typically include a two-dimensional multidimensional scaling (MDS) of the unstructured sort data, a hierarchical cluster analysis of the MDS coordinates, and the computation of average ratings for each statement and cluster of statements. The maps that result show the individual statements in two-dimensional (x,y) space with more similar statements located nearer each other, and show how the statements are grouped into clusters that partition the space on the map. Participants are led through a structured interpretation session designed to help them understand the maps and label them in a substantively meaningful way.

The concept mapping process as conducted here was first described by Trochim and Linton (1986). Trochim (1989a) delineates the process in detail and Trochim (1989b) presents a wide range of example projects. Concept mapping has received considerable use and appears to be growing in popularity. It has been used to address substantive issues in the social services (Galvin, 1989; Mannes, 1989), mental health (Cook, 1992; Kane, 1992; Lassegard, 1993; Marquart, 1988; Marquart, 1992; Marquart et al, 1993; Penney, 1992; Ryan and Pursley, 1992; Shern, 1992; Trochim, 1989a; Trochim and Cook, 1992; Trochim et al, in press; Valentine, 1992), health care (Valentine, 1989), education (Grayson, 1993; Kohler, 1992; Kohler, 1993), educational administration (Gurowitz et al, 1988), and theory development (Linton, 1989). Considerable methodological work on the concept mapping process and its potential utility has also been accomplished (Bragg and Grayson, 1993; Caracelli, 1989; Cooksy, 1989; Davis, 1989; Dumont, 1989; Grayson, 1992; Keith, 1989; Lassegard, 1992; Marquart, 1989; Mead and Bowers, 1992; Mercer, 1992; SenGupta, 1993; Trochim, 1985 , 1989c, 1990).

The concept mapping process involves six major steps:

1 Preparation

2 Generation

3 Structuring

4 Representation

5 Interpretation

6 Utilization

This report presents the results of the project in sequential order according to the six steps in the process.


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Copyright 1996, William M.K. Trochim