Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Denise Ross


recipient, rights, concept, behavior, analysis

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Although the State of Michigan has passed legislation to ensure that the rights of mental health service recipients are protected, there has been no published research evaluating the accuracy and consistency with which these guidelines are applied in real world cases. Quite obviously, even well intentioned policy may fall short of its intended goal if it is not implemented consistently and with fidelity. The State of Michigan trains Recipient Rights Officers (RROs) who in turn provide training and oversight for local mental health service agencies (Community Mental Health Agencies and PIHPs) who are charged with educating practitioners and other service providers about these guidelines. The RROs are also charged with reviewing and resolving recipient rights complaints that are conveyed to the local RROs. In an effort to evaluate the consistency and accuracy with which policies are applied, this study developed a series of scenarios that depicted real work incidents, some of which represented a violation of Michigan Recipient Rights policy. RROs were invited to review a series of written case scenarios and indicate whether a violation of State policy had occurred and for those cases in which they indicated the presence of a violation, they were asked to identify which code (or codes) were violated in the scenario. In addition, RROs were asked to evaluate the realism of the scenarios and provide additional case examples. All case scenarios were reviewed by State-level experts in the Michigan State Office of Recipient Rights to verify that the case scenarios were valid and to identify whether a case constituted a code violation and, if so, which code(s) were violated. The results of this study indicated that RROs have higher levels of agreement with experts in regards of classifying a violation or nonviolation, but have fairly inconsistent levels of agreement with realism of that case example, and strong inconsistencies in categorizing the specific violation. This indicates that RROs have stronger training in identification of violations, but may need supplemental training in regard to scenarios that are not typical of their region, and may also need additional training in categorizing specific violations.

Ultimately, the results of this research will be used to provide training material that might be used to improve the consistency with which RROs interpret and apply state policy. In turn, the validated scenarios may be used to improve the understanding and consistent application by practitioners who are trained by local RROs.