Peer support in the community: Initial findings of a mentoring program for individuals with traumatic brain injury and their families

Mary R. Hibbard, Joshua Cantor, Heather Charatz, Robin Rosenthal, Teresa Ashman, Nancy Gundersen, Lynne Ireland-Knight, Wayne Gordon, Judith Avner, Audrey Gartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of a community-based peer support program for individuals and their family members following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Settings: Community-based sample of family members and individuals with traumatic brain injury. Participants: Twenty individuals who had participated in the peer support program (11 individuals with TBI and 9 family members). Main Outcome Measures: Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used: a retrospective structured interview assessing self-reported impacts of peer support on empowerment, quality of life, mood, skills and knowledge, and social supports; an in-depth qualitative interview with a subgroup of family members focused on the specific benefits/limitations of the peer support program. Results: Participants in the peer support program reported positive impacts of peer support on increasing their knowledge of TBI, enhancing their overall quality of life, improving their general outlook, and enhancing their ability to cope with depression post TBI. The peer support program was reported to have had a minimal impact on enhancing social support from families, friends, and the community, with varying impacts noted on levels of happiness, coping with anger and anxiety, communication with professionals, and control over one's life. Qualitative analysis suggests the merits of this type of community-based support and areas of improvement for the peer support program itself. Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest that peer support is a promising approach to enhancing coping for both individuals and their family members after TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-131
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Families
  • Participatory action research
  • Peer support
  • Self-help
  • Traumatic brain injury

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