Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 209–220 | Cite as

Who Benefits from Peer Support in Psychiatric Institutions?

  • Franziska Rabenschlag
  • Holger Hoffmann
  • Antoinette Conca
  • Claudia Schusterschitz
Original Paper


This study examines the influence of recovery-oriented peer events on participants’ recovery attitudes and explores who benefits most from such events. Changes in participants’ recovery attitudes were evaluated (pre, post, follow-up), and compared with changes of control groups. Distributions of recovery-related values in subgroups were analyzed descriptively. The results of non-parametric tests (Friedman) showed participants with significantly higher values in the dimension Recovery is possible directly after the interventions (P = 0.006), but not 6 months later, and not in comparison with members of control groups. On a descriptive level, women, participants with schizophrenia and with two or more episodes of the disorder showed higher recovery-related values compared to men, participants with an affective disorder and only one episode. Within their feedback, organizations and peers express a positive view of peer support, but evidence for a positive impact of the evaluated peer events on recovery attitude is limited.


Peer support User involvement Recovery Mental health 



This research was funded by the Swiss Foundation Pro Mente Sana and the Gottfried und Julia Bangerter-Rhyner-Foundation. The authors report no competing interests. Special thanks go to Andreas Knuf, the leader of the Pro Mente Sana Peer project in Switzerland, who supported the evaluation as much as possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franziska Rabenschlag
    • 1
  • Holger Hoffmann
    • 2
  • Antoinette Conca
    • 3
  • Claudia Schusterschitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Informatics and Technology in HallUMIT-University for Health SciencesTyrolAustria
  2. 2.University Hospital of Psychiatry, Bern and SoteriaBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Nursing SciencesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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