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One-to-one peer support in mental health

Galloway, AMJ; (2016) One-to-one peer support in mental health. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access


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Peer support has been recognised as a valuable resource for individuals with mental health issues; this thesis focuses on one-to-one peer support interventions and naturally occurring peer support. The thesis is presented in three parts. Part I is a literature review of the effectiveness and characteristics of unidirectional peer support interventions for individuals with mental health issues. Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The quality of reporting of the characteristics of the interventions was good. However, the quality of the studies was mixed. The findings of the studies were also mixed, indicating that an empirical base for unidirectional peer support interventions is yet to be established. Part II presents the findings of a qualitative study into service users’ experiences of naturally occurring peer support in inpatient settings. Twelve service users took part in semi-structured interviews. A thematic analysis yielded nine themes organised into two domains. Participants highlighted the importance of peer support, which provided the opportunity to live out valued personal principles and identities. However, there were a number of challenges and barriers to supportive interactions (e.g. the fear of raising a painful topic meant some participants felt the need to tread carefully around others). Further research is needed to explore staff perceptions of mutual peer support on acute inpatient wards, which would guide the implementation of these ideas to inpatient ward policy and procedure. Part III is a critical reflection on the process of carrying out the research reported in Part II. It focuses on the challenges of conducting qualitative research in a mental health setting, the impact of researcher position and a consideration of the results in relation to the wider context of the mental health system.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: One-to-one peer support in mental health
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Peer support, mental health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524126
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