Nurse-led peer support group: experiences of women with polycystic ovary syndrome


C.A. Percy: e-mail:


Title. Nurse-led peer support group: experiences of women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explore the experiences of women with polycystic ovary syndrome attending a nurse-led support group.

Background.  Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common chronic endocrine disorder associated with high levels of psychological distress. It has been argued that healthcare providers should regularly review the psychological health of women with polycystic ovary syndrome, and that nurses can help women to adjust to the condition by providing education and support. Little is known about the means of providing social support for women with the syndrome, or of any benefits for patients.

Method.  Qualitative interviews were conducted with 13 female patients in 2006. The patients attended a support group at a public hospital in the United Kingdom. The data were analysed using deductive and inductive thematic analysis.

Findings.  The group provided both socio-emotional and informational social support. Participants reported that attending the group helped to reduce isolation, and provided an opportunity for social comparison and accessible and personally relevant information. Participants described the group as having had a major personal impact for them. They reported feeling empowered and direct positive effects on their self-management behaviours.

Conclusion.  Social support appears to be a key factor mediating the psychosocial impact in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Healthcare providers should consider running such support groups or referring patients to them. Providing social support may alleviate distress and improve self-management.