Mult Scler. 2004 Feb;10(1):80-4
Messmer Uccelli M, Mancuso Mohr L, Battaglia MA, Zagami P, Mohr DC.
Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society, Department of Health Services and Research, Genoa, Italy
Peer support programs have become a common method of providing support for patients with chronic illness.
Utilizing peers as resources has been proposed as an effective means for coping with a stressful life experience and for gaining support from others who share a common factor, although data are somewhat mixed on the efficacy of peer support.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of eight weeks of a standard form of peer support in improving quality of life and reducing depressive symptoms in 44 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
One person from each of six groups participated in a training course in order to learn basic principles of peer support.
Eight weekly sessions were held and patients completed self-administered questionnaires pre- and post-treatment assessing quality of life and depression.
Results showed that support groups do not provide consistent improvement in quality of life or depression in patients with MS and suggest that patients who have better mental health functioning could be at risk for deterioration in support groups.