Effectiveness of peer support in reducing readmissions of persons with multiple psychiatric hospitalizations

Psychiatr Serv. 2011 May;62(5):541-4. doi: 10.1176/ps.62.5.pss6205_0541.


Objective: The study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of using peer support to reduce recurrent psychiatric hospitalizations.

Methods: A randomized controlled design was used, with follow-up at nine months after an index discharge from an academically affiliated psychiatric hospital. Patients were 18 years or older with major mental illness and had been hospitalized three or more times in the prior 18 months. Seventy-four patients were recruited, randomly assigned to usual care (N=36) or to a peer mentor plus usual care (N=38), and assessed at nine months.

Results: Participants who were assigned a peer mentor had significantly fewer rehospitalizations (.89 ± 1.35 versus 1.53 ± 1.54; p=.042 [one-tailed]) and fewer hospital days (10.08 ± 17.31 versus 19.08 ± 21.63 days; p<.03, [one tailed]).

Conclusions: Despite the study's limitations, findings suggest that use of peer mentors is a promising intervention for reducing recurrent psychiatric hospitalizations for patients at risk of readmission.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Connecticut
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mentors
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission*
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Support*
  • Young Adult