Investigating the Challenges and Benefits of Engaging in Peer Support via Videoconferencing for People with Spinal Cord Injury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: One of the greatest challenges faced by people following a spinal cord injury is reintegrating into the community. Peer mentors are people who have had shared experiences of disadvantage and distress and have successfully navigated their way through the associated challenges to lead meaningful lives. Historically, peer mentoring services have been predominantly delivered via face-to-face interactions. Little is known about the experience of people with spinal cord injury engaging in online peer support services, and what the challenges and benefits are of this mode of delivery. Methods: An anonymous online survey consisting of closed and open response questions was used to collect data. Quantitative data were analysed descriptively and qualitative data were analysed using inductive content analysis. Results: Positive benefits of engaging in peer support via videoconferencing included convenience and social connectedness. The main barriers were problems with Wi-Fi and internet connections, inconsistencies between platforms and having to learn new platforms. Even though responses were mixed when comparing videoconferencing to face-to-face peer support, most participants felt socially connected. Conclusions: Addressing barriers through the provision of appropriate technology, and targeted and individualised assistance, is important to facilitate uptake of online peer support for people with spinal cord injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4585
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • lived experience
  • online support
  • peer support
  • spinal cord injury
  • videoconferencing

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