Peer Support Interventions in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: A Framework to Advance the Field

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2022 Jul;103(7S):S222-S229. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2020.09.400. Epub 2021 Jan 10.


Peer support is a central tenet of the Disability Rights Movement and is based on the recognition that experiential knowledge and shared experiences provide opportunities for informational, emotional, and appraisal support among people with physical disabilities. "Peer support interventions" is an umbrella term used to describe a range of ancillary services provided by people with disabilities to people with disabilities, including peer mentoring, peer health education, and peer health navigation. A growing body of research documents the development, implementation, and outcomes of peer support interventions for people with physical disabilities in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The organization, structure, and objectives of peer support interventions vary tremendously, making it difficult to synthesize findings across studies and establish best practices to support their systematic implementation across the continuum of care. This article is a call to action for greater conceptual clarity in how peer support interventions are developed, implemented, and evaluated. We propose a 9-part evidence-informed framework delineating both theory-driven and contextual considerations to help strengthen the evidence base of peer support interventions for people with disabilities in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Keywords: Disabled persons; Psychosocial support; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons* / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Peer Group
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine*