Methods: The target population for this study was community corrections professionals who work with individuals who have a SMI. Using an anonymous online survey, data were collected from 291 parole/probation professionals in 43 states and Washington, DC. Exploratory factor analysis (n = 146) and confirmatory factor analysis (n = 145) were used to explore and validate the scale’s factor structure. Next, regression modeling was used to identify relationships among professionals’ personal and agency characteristics, knowledge of various rehabilitation paradigms, and impressions of the capabilities of the people they supervise with their scores on the CCSDM.
Results: Results indicate the CCSDM functions as an internally consistent, 2-factor scale useful for measuring attitudes toward SDM with people who have a SMI and are under community supervision. Professionals’ perceptions of the capabilities of supervisees with SMI to contribute to supervision plan development and, to a lesser extent, familiarity with recovery-oriented mental health services were positively associated with attitudes toward SDM with this population. An indicator of “otherness,” or social distance, also evidenced a strong relationship with CCSDM subscales.
Conclusions and Implications: Respondents were generally supportive of SDM. Given the benefits of SDM, assessment of these beliefs (perhaps using the CCSDM) is essential to inform implementation strategies aimed at establishing SDM policies and practices in community corrections settings. Additionally, training of community corrections professionals in mental health recovery principles and co-locating them with peer support services could raise awareness as to the capacities of people with SMI and reduce the social distance and stigma toward supervisees in a way that promotes SDM.