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Peer support critical elements and experiences in supporting the homeless: a qualitative study

Peer support critical elements and experiences in supporting the homeless: a qualitative study
Peer support critical elements and experiences in supporting the homeless: a qualitative study

Peer supporters are individuals with lived experience and are an integral part of health care systems, providing support to those affected by various phenomena such as homelessness and addictions. However, little is known about the critical elements that underpin peer support interventions. This qualitative study sought to understand the critical elements of intentional peer support with a homeless population, voiced by those who provide and/or receive this support. Twenty-nine participants from 4 different homeless charities in England were interviewed about their experiences of providing/receiving peer support and what they felt were critical factors to its success. Participants defined peer support as an experience-based relationship, built upon mutual understanding, empathy, and support. Thematic analysis was utilised to in developing 6 themes. Results identified peers' persistence in developing unique experience-based relationships, providing social support, role modelling recovery, and peers' motivations were perceived as important factors involved in peer support. It was also found that peers described benefitting from helping, such as, undergoing transformative identity developments that helped them to escape homelessness. Through the retelling of their stories, they create meaning and restructure their autobiography, attributing experiences of homelessness as a catalyst for positive changes in their lives. Limitations and future research are discussed.

Experts by experience, Homelessness, Identity development, Peer support, Qualitative research
1052-9284
213-229
Barker, Stephanie L.
c13c8f44-ca6f-497d-8eca-006707beeddf
Maguire, Nick
ebc88e0a-3c1e-4b3a-88ac-e1dad740011b
Bishop, Felicity L.
1f5429c5-325f-4ac4-aae3-6ba85d079928
Stopa, Lusia
b52f29fc-d1c2-450d-b321-68f95fa22c40
Barker, Stephanie L.
c13c8f44-ca6f-497d-8eca-006707beeddf
Maguire, Nick
ebc88e0a-3c1e-4b3a-88ac-e1dad740011b
Bishop, Felicity L.
1f5429c5-325f-4ac4-aae3-6ba85d079928
Stopa, Lusia
b52f29fc-d1c2-450d-b321-68f95fa22c40

Barker, Stephanie L., Maguire, Nick, Bishop, Felicity L. and Stopa, Lusia (2018) Peer support critical elements and experiences in supporting the homeless: a qualitative study. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 28 (4), 213-229. (doi:10.1002/casp.2353).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Peer supporters are individuals with lived experience and are an integral part of health care systems, providing support to those affected by various phenomena such as homelessness and addictions. However, little is known about the critical elements that underpin peer support interventions. This qualitative study sought to understand the critical elements of intentional peer support with a homeless population, voiced by those who provide and/or receive this support. Twenty-nine participants from 4 different homeless charities in England were interviewed about their experiences of providing/receiving peer support and what they felt were critical factors to its success. Participants defined peer support as an experience-based relationship, built upon mutual understanding, empathy, and support. Thematic analysis was utilised to in developing 6 themes. Results identified peers' persistence in developing unique experience-based relationships, providing social support, role modelling recovery, and peers' motivations were perceived as important factors involved in peer support. It was also found that peers described benefitting from helping, such as, undergoing transformative identity developments that helped them to escape homelessness. Through the retelling of their stories, they create meaning and restructure their autobiography, attributing experiences of homelessness as a catalyst for positive changes in their lives. Limitations and future research are discussed.

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CASP_Qual Study Manuscript_FINAL - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 9 May 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 May 2018
Keywords: Experts by experience, Homelessness, Identity development, Peer support, Qualitative research

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421915
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421915
ISSN: 1052-9284
PURE UUID: 7ca9235c-adcd-420f-9e82-de15b6934be2
ORCID for Stephanie L. Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2886-4113
ORCID for Nick Maguire: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4295-8068
ORCID for Felicity L. Bishop: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8737-6662

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Date deposited: 09 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 05:21

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