Developing a Peer Support Framework


The aim of this research project is to to explore underlying understandings and proposed mechanisms within the peer support service theory to develop a framework for peer mentoring. This can then be used in a larger project evaluating the national peer mentoring service.


Interviews and focus groups with the key people involved with the development and implementation of Peer Support in Spinal Cord Injuries in New Zealand. These are, 'Connecting People' (part of the New Zealand Spinal Trust), who provide peer support to people with SCI at the Burwood Spinal Unit and into the community, and ‘TASC’ at the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit .


Key contact

Jo Nunnerley, Burwood Academy of Independent Living

Phone: 03 383 6871
Fax: 03 383 7500
Mobile: 021 2872 651
Email:Dr Jo Nunnerley

Other researchers and collaborators

Rachelle Martin, BAIL and University of Otago, Wellington
Johnny Bourke, BAIL
Debbie Snell, Unviersity of Otago, Christchurch
Jennifer Dunn, University of Otago, Christchurch
Zahra Shahtahmasebi, BAIL

Status of the research 

Data collection is underway

BAIL Researcher Rachelle Martins suggests "Interventions within health services are often complex, and I believe that it is necessary to not only determine if interventions work - we need to understand what aspects of the intervention works, for which people, in which contexts, to what extent, and how. Thinking about interventions in this way is based on a research method called ‘Realist Evaluation’. I have used elements of this method within my PhD studies, and I am keen to use this approach to understand more fully why peer mentoring works. If we can understand how it works for a range of people who receive mentoring, then we can work with providers to think about how the intervention can be optimised to achieve the best outcomes for people with SCI. We can also think about how peer mentoring programmes may work in other contexts (e.g. outside of NZ or in other population groups)"