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Parent-to-parent peer support for parents of children with a disability: A mixed method study

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Objectives This paper will report on the findings of a study which investigated the influence of a befriending (parent-to-parent peer support) scheme on parents whose children have a disability or additional need. The scheme operated from an acute children's tertiary setting in the UK. Methods A prospective concurrent mixed method design collected interview (n = 70) and questionnaire (n = 68) data at two time-points from befrienders (n = 13) and befriendees (n = 26). Results The main qualitative findings of the study relate to the different degrees parents (befriendees and befrienders) moved from being lost, to finding and being a guide and getting to a better place. The quantitative findings demonstrate that parent-to-parent peer support has a positive influence on parents’ levels of psychological distress and their ability to cope with being a parent of a child with a disability. Conclusion The befriending scheme acted as a catalyst for many parents to move towards a place where they could grow and begin to flourish and thrive. Practice implications Professionals should inform parents who have a child with a disability that peer-to-peer parenting support schemes are a valuable and appropriate source of support and help.




Bray, L., Carter, B., Sanders, C., Blake, L., & Keegan, K. (2017). Parent-to-parent peer support for parents of children with a disability: A mixed method study. Patient Education and Counseling, 100(8), 1537–1543.

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