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Brief Reports   |    
Personal and Societal Benefits of Providing Peer Support: A Survey of Peer Support Specialists
Gene Johnson, M.S.W.; Chris Magee, B.S.; Mihoko Maru, M.A.; Kathleen Furlong-Norman, M.Ed., M.S.W.; E. Sally Rogers, Sc.D.; Kenneth Thompson, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300113
View Author and Article Information

Mr. Johnson, Mr. Magee, and Dr. Thompson are with Recovery Innovations, Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Maru, Ms. Furlong-Norman, and Dr. Rogers are with the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University. Send correspondence to Dr. Rogers (e-mail: erogers@bu.edu).

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

Objective  Peer-delivered services have burgeoned, and evidence of the effectiveness of peer support is increasing. However, the potential benefits to peer support specialists (PSSs) themselves are not as well understood. The authors conducted a survey of PSSs to examine potential benefits.

Methods  A survey instrument was developed and refined and sent anonymously via the Internet to PSSs who had been employed for a minimum of two months by an agency that employs a large number of PSSs.

Results  A total of 253 respondents completed the survey (70% response rate). Respondents reported a variety of benefits in the intrapersonal, social, mental health, recovery, spiritual, and professional domains. Forty percent of respondents reported discontinuing at least one type of disability or social benefit.

Conclusions  Results suggest that employment as a PSS is a potent vehicle for improving recovery and quality of life. Results accrue to society in reduction of public benefits.

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Table 1Personal benefits of being a peer support specialist (PSS) endorsed in a survey of 253 PSSs
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