Vocational Peer Support: Results of a Qualitative Study
Peer-delivered services for individuals with psychiatric conditions are becoming an established part of the mental health workforce. Given the growing focus on evidence-based supported employment, peer specialists are often assisting individuals who are choosing, getting, or keeping employment. As part of a larger randomized clinical trial examining the effectiveness of an innovative intervention called vocational peer support, 13 semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted to examine how recipients perceived peer support, and whether or how it was useful for pursuing vocational goals. A thematic analysis approach was utilized for identifying major themes and sub-themes. Results suggest that a key factor in the effectiveness of vocational peer support is the identification with another individual’s “lived experience,” which then promotes engagement and a sense of normalcy. Vocational peer support may be particularly useful for individuals with psychiatric disabilities wishing to pursue a vocational goal.
This study was conducted with support from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, both within the US Health and Human Services (grant no. 90RT5033 and 90AR5018). Endorsement is not implied.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures and materials, including recruitment flyers and the interview guide, were approved by the Boston University Institutional Review Board.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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