What does science say about the value of peer support?


Much evidence supports that peer support is a critical and effective strategy for ongoing health care and sustained behavior change for people with chronic diseases and other conditions, and its benefits can be extended to community, organizational and societal levels.
Overall, studies have found that social support:

  • decreases morbidity and mortality rates
  • increases life expectancy
  • increases knowledge of a disease
  • improves self-efficacy
  • improves self-reported health status and self-care skills, including medication adherence
  • reduces use of emergency services.
  • Additionally, providers of social support report less depression, heightened self-esteem and self-efficacy, and improved quality of life.

The scientific evidence presented in this section is organized under the following categories:

Peer Support for Diabetes
Peer Support for Mental Health
Peer Support for a Multitude of Health Conditions