A framework for interconnected benefits of peer support for family members of people with disability
Australian Journal of Social Issues
Peer support describes the process of giving and receiving support between people who share similar life experiences. It is commonly used by family members of people with disability, with positive outcomes. However, existing research tends to assume it has separate and discrete benefits, neglecting the subtleties of how the different outcomes may be interconnected and mutually reinforcing. An account of these broader connections between benefits is needed. Drawing on Australian data from 24 parents and siblings of people with disability, this paper identifies benefits of peer support, including exchange of information, benefiting from experience and problem solving; motivation/encouragement and self-confidence/personal development; social interaction and friendship; understanding, perspective and belonging/community; working together for change; and resilience and well-being. The paper then proposes a framework to understand these benefits in an interconnected manner, where they are either transactional (giving and receiving practical and social-emotional resources) or integrative (assimilating what is given and received into one's own experience and actions). The implications for practice and for families are discussed.
Open Access Status
This publication is not available as open access