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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • peer support;
  • randomized controlled trial;
  • quality of life;
  • psychiatric nursing

Objective:  To investigate the effect of a (minimally) guided peer support group (GPSG) for people with psychosis on social network, social support, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and quality of life, and to evaluate the intervention and its economic consequences.

Method:  In a multi-center randomized controlled trial with 56 patients in the peer support group and 50 patients in the control condition, patients were assessed at baseline and after the last meeting at 8 months.

Results:  The experimental group showed GPSG to have a positive effect on social network and social support compared with the control condition. In the experimental condition, high attenders favored over low attenders on increased social support, self-efficacy, and quality of life. Economic evaluation demonstrated groups to be without financial consequences. The GPSG-intervention was positively evaluated.

Conclusion:  Peer support groups are a useful intervention for people suffering from psychosis by improving their social network.