A concept analysis of befriending

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Abstract

Aim.

To report an analysis of the concept of Befriending.

Background.

Befriending is an intervention used in a range of nursing, health and social care settings to provide support for individuals who are socially isolated or lack social support. However, in many cases befriending and its impact remains poorly understood and under researched. Concept analysis provides clarification of the concept and basis for further research and development.

Design.

Concept analysis.

Data sources.

AMED, Psyc Articles, Psych Info, Medline, MedlinePlus, Social Science Index and CINHAL databases were searched for literature published between 1993–2013 using the search term Befriending.

Methods.

Walker and Avant'smethod of concept analysis was chosen. This combined with insights from Risjord'swork produced a theoretical concept analysis which focused on the concept in peer reviewed academic literature.

Results.

There are currently several ways the mechanisms of befriending and its effects on individuals and communities are understood. It is possible however to identify key attributes which define the concept and differentiate it from related concepts, such as peer support and mentoring. Key attributes are that it is an organised intervention, involving the creation of an emotionally connected friend-like relationship, where there is a negotiation of power.

Conclusion.

This concept analysis has clarified current understandings and uses of befriending. It provides the basis for widening the focus of research into the effectiveness and impact of befriending on those who are befriended, those who befriend and the communities where befriending takes place.

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