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Using peer mentoring for people with spinal cord injury to enhance self efficacy beliefs and prevent medical complications

Using peer mentoring for people with spinal cord injury to enhance self efficacy beliefs and prevent medical complications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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  • Inger Ljungberg (Lead / Corresponding author)
  • Thilo Kroll
  • Alexander Libin
  • Samuel Gordon

Research units


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-358
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2011


Aims and objectives.

Individuals with spinal cord injury/disease are faced with a myriad of psychosocial adjustment challenges. This article describes the implementation of a peer-mentoring programme designed to support this adjustment process for people with SCI/disease and the programme's believed impact on self-efficacy and prevention of medical complications.


With shorter length of stay in acute inpatient rehabilitation after spinal cord injury/disease, peer mentor programmes are becoming an important component to assist with education and community re-integration.


Quasi-experimental non-controlled pretest/post-test.


Patients with newly acquired spinal cord injury/disease participated in a one- year spinal cord injury peer-mentoring programme. Peer mentors met with their assigned participants regularly during inpatient care and on discharge to track medical complications and assist with adjusting to life after spinal cord injury/disease.


In all, of 37 mentees enrolled, 24 successfully completed the programme. Sixty-seven per cent showed improved self-efficacy score between the two time points. Medical complications and doctor visits all decreased significantly between 0-6 months and 7-12 months. Our findings indicate that the older an individual is, the lower the likelihood of having a urinary tract infection (p = 0 center dot 006). The programme was well received by all mentees who felt they could connect well with their peer mentor.


Peer mentoring in a rehabilitation setting enhances the understanding of challenges that patients and medical staff deal with on a day-to-day basis. Our findings suggest it is important to monitor and educate individuals with spinal cord injury/disease at the acute stage to improve medical outcomes. Caution is advised in the interpretation of these results as they were obtained in a small non-random sample using self-report data.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Peer mentors play an increasingly important role in nurse-delivered education in the spinal cord injury/disease population.



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