Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2010

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Social Work

Additional Affiliations

Brown School of Social Work

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Mental health organizations can play a key role in enhancing youths' access to care by working together to bridge gaps in service delivery systems. This dissertation study examines partnerships among a network of children's behavioral health organizations. The specific aims are to (1) describe and understand the network of partnerships among members of the Children's Services Coalition, (2) assess the capacity of the system to provide coordinated service delivery, and (3) test how patterns of organizational characteristics influence conditions that facilitate and inhibit partnerships among the Children's Service Coalition organizations.

This dissertation is a predominantly quantitative cross-sectional network study of 36 children's mental health organizations in St. Louis County that are members of the newly formed Children's Services Coalition. Network data on relationships and archival data from IRS 990 forms were collected and used to explain how organizational characteristics might lead certain organizations to partner, but create conditions that simultaneously facilitate and hinder the degree to which organizations partner.

Overall, the key findings describe partnership behavior at the network, small-group, and dyadic-level. First, children's behavioral health organizations in the CSC maintain a complex set of partnerships, which are expected to grow as new opportunities emerge. Second, although partnerships are very common, the larger network may not be well coordinated as evidenced by the few systematic partnership patterns uncovered using descriptive network analysis techniques including sub-group analysis and blockmodeling. However there is potential for coordination at the sub-group level among small groups of similar organizations. Finally, at the dyadic-level, results of a path analysis demonstrate how similar competing organizations depend on one another for resources and benefit from their collaboration, which drives partnerships.

Results suggest that organizational interests drive partnership development in this network, and bring together competing organizations that provide similar resources potentially as a strategy for managing competition, or creating efficiencies. This trend runs counter to system reform goals for bridging organizations with complementary services to facilitate access to quality care.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

David F. Gillespie

Committee Members

Douglas Luke, Curtis McMillen, Enola Proctor, Ramesh Raghavan, Raymond Sparrowe


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