Peer Support Needs Among Adults With Burns

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Research and anecdotal evidence has shown that burn survivors benefit from peer support participation, but also that relatively few attend such groups. This study investigated Dutch adult burn survivors’ views on the reasons that promote or prevent participation in peer support activities. In this study, a distinction was made between those with and without an overt need for peer support and between those who do and those who do not already experience peer contact. Questionnaires were sent online and/or per post to adult Dutch burn survivors. Data were analyzed using descriptive analyses, t-tests and χ2 tests. The results indicate that the main perceived benefits of participation are related to receiving and giving support rather than to personal developmental reasons. The main perceived barriers to participation are related to positive emotional states. Overall, the perceived benefits and barriers do not differ substantially between those who do and those who do not report a need for peer support or those who have and have not participated in peer support. The results of the present research may be indicative of an existing misconception among burn survivors that peer support is meant for people in great need and distress. Promoting the possibly unknown personal developmental function of peer contact, but also the importance of its reciprocal benefits might help in having more patients profit from peer support.

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