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Sharing and Empathy in Digital Spaces: Qualitative Study of Online Health Forums for Breast Cancer and Motor Neuron Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

The availability of an increasing number of online health forums has altered the experience of living with a health condition, as more people are now able to connect and support one another. Empathy is an important component of peer-to-peer support, although little is known about how empathy develops and operates within online health forums.

This paper explores how empathy develops and operates within two online health forums for differing health conditions: breast cancer and motor neuron disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Quantifying the benefits of peer support for people with dementia: A Social Return on Investment (SROI) study

Peer support for people with dementia and carers is routinely advocated in national strategies and policy as a post-diagnostic intervention. However there is limited evidence to demonstrate the value these groups offer. This study looked at three dementia peer support groups in South London to evaluate what outcomes they produce and how much social value they create in relation to the cost of investment.

Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Peer-Delivered and Technology Supported Self-Management Intervention for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness.

To assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of a peer-delivered and technology supported integrated medical and psychiatric self-management intervention for older adults with serious mental illness. Ten older adults with serious mental illness (i.e., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder) and medical comorbidity (i.e., cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and/or high cholesterol) aged 60 years and older received the PeerTECH intervention in their homes.

Peer interviewers in mental health services research

This article describes how peer interviewers helped to collect data in an evaluation of a peer respite programme in the US. The respite programmes offered short-term, overnight peer support for those with mental health conditions. The paper aims to describe one avenue for engaging with peers to conduct research and was informed by the practice of peer support, the history of service user research, and CBPR (community-based participatory research) methods.

"Positive examples": a bottom-up approach to identifying best practices in HIV care and treatment based on the experiences of peer educators

This article describes peer support in HIV care and treatment based on the perspective of 23 HIV-positive peer educators across the United States. Following in depth interviews, those individuals were asked questions about their role in their community and how they believed their interaction with others had a positive impact including on HIV knowledge, access to health care, utilisation of services, and adherence to treatment. The article then sets out the key findings from the discussions and draws conclusions on characteristics that may be important for programme sustainability.

Meeting the challenges of implementing process evaluation within randomized controlled trials: the example of ASSIST (a stop smoking in schools trial)

This article describes how a public health focused peer support programme in schools was evaluated in a manner seen as an alternative to a randomised control trial (RCT). Year 8 students in Wales (12-13 years old) were trained to encourage non-smoking behaviour through informal conversations with their peers. The article describes how the programme addressed some evaluation issues such as Hawthorne effects, overlapping roles within the team and distinguishing between the intervention and its evaluation.

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