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

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    71 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

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


    • Peer-mentoring
    • Spinal cord injuries

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