Enabling mutual helping? : Examining variable needs for facilitated peer support
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Objective: To examine uses of peer support among people living with a urological cancer. Methods: 26 qualitative interviews investigating experiences of needing and receiving information and support among people who had and who had not used a new urological cancer centre and its various peer support opportunities. Results: Study participants reported varied needs for engagement with facilitated peer support, and suggested these depended on the severity and burden of their disease and treatment, the support they derived from existing networks, and their sense of coping. A minority reported avoiding speaking with other patients in order to protect their own or the other patients' emotional wellbeing. Conclusion: Desire for facilitated peer support is variable, and both giving and receiving support may have negative as well as positive consequences. These may depend on the nature of social comparisons that peer support interventions prompt, and the varying ways people interpret these. Practical implications: Services offering facilitated peer support should recognise people's variable and contingent needs for support, and acknowledge the potential disadvantages of facilitated peer support for some patients. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.