It's a lifeline": generating a sense of social connectedness through befriending parents of disabled children or children with additional need.

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    Abstract

    Objectives: This study explored the influence of a parent-to-parent peer support scheme on the wellbeing of parents of disabled children or children with additional need who joined a befriending scheme.

    Methods: A longitudinal concurrent mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) research design collected data (telephone interviews, Footsteps Tool, Resilience Scale-14) with 33 befriendees (1:1 or group support) and 33 befrienders at time-point 1 (TP1). TP2 data were collected from 20 befriendees and 16 befrienders 6-9 months after recruitment.

    Results: There was some improvement on average scores between TP1 and TP2 on both tools. The strongest evidence of change - ‘a sense of positivity and hope’ and ‘connection, belonging and sharing’ - was in the parents' reports of how the scheme helped them to build secure and valued social connections within a community of other parents who understood their lives.

    Conclusion: Both the befriendees and befrienders reported the sense of hope and a feeling of belonging as key benefits that resulted from the social connections they gained from the scheme.

    Practice Implications: Social connectedness is likely to be a more useful than resilience in examining change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2279-2285
    JournalPatient Education and Counseling
    Volume102
    Issue number12
    Early online date11 Jul 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019

    Keywords

    • Parent
    • parent-to-parent peer support
    • befriending
    • social connections
    • wellbeing

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