• consumer-survivors;
  • ethnonursing methodology;
  • peer support relationships;
  • Peplau;
  • mental health

Consumer-survivors (C/Ss) identify peer support as a resource that facilitates their recovery. However, little is known about the factors that influence or how the peer support relationship (PSR) develops/deteriorates. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the PSR within the subculture of mental health. Using an ethnonursing method, the study focused on informants from two C/S organizations who received peer support (n = 14). Findings revealed that the PSRs may develop or deteriorate through three, overlapping phases. Contextual factors that influenced the development/deterioration of the PSR are discussed. Understanding the processes and factors that contribute to the development/deterioration of PSRs will enable clinicians and C/Ss to assess and promote the development of healthy, supportive PSRs in mental health.