Perceptions of group peer support for people living with multiple sclerosis

Denise Mary Jepsen, Kalani Koswatta Liyanage

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper


People living with MS often require a range of services beyond medical care, including peer support. Despite its widespread use, few studies have investigated the efficacy of peer support programs in improving the lives of people living with MS. This study aimed to determine how dysfunction impacts on perceptions of peer support and peer support facilitators, and how perceptions of peer support facilitators impacts on participants’ involvement in peer support. Analysis of responses from a confidential survey of 138 Australian participants in group peer support found that dysfunction did not predict level of involvement in peer support, but respondents’ perceptions of their facilitator predicted their positive impact, expectations and enjoyment of peer support. There was no relationship between level of dysfunction and facilitator perceptions overall. However at item level, those with higher physical dysfunction and those with lower cognitive dysfunction evaluated their facilitators more highly. These findings suggest a difference in the way people with different presentations of MS perceive peer support facilitators. Treating people with MS as a homogeneous group when looking at the efficacy of peer support may not provide an accurate representation of their experiences and more tailored programs may improve patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management. Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management (76th : 2016): Making organizations meaningful - Anaheim, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 20169 Aug 2016
Conference number: 76th


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