Peer support relationships: an unexplored interpersonal process in mental health

Authors

  • R. COATSWORTH-PUSPOKY rn mscn,

    Corresponding author
    1. Clinical Nurse Specialist, Geriatric Psychiatry, Regional Mental Health Care,
    2. St Joseph’s Health Care, and
      R. Coatsworth-Puspoky
      Geriatric Psychiatry
      Regional Mental Health Care
      850 Highbury Ave
      London
      ON N6A 3V9
      Canada
      E-mail: robin.coatsworth-puspoky@sjhc.london.on.ca
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  • C. FORCHUK rn phd,

    1. Professor,
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  • C. WARD-GRIFFIN rn phd

    1. Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
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R. Coatsworth-Puspoky
Geriatric Psychiatry
Regional Mental Health Care
850 Highbury Ave
London
ON N6A 3V9
Canada
E-mail: robin.coatsworth-puspoky@sjhc.london.on.ca

Abstract

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.

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