Mutual support: an exploration of peer support for people with learning difficulties

Keyes, Sarah (2010) Mutual support: an exploration of peer support for people with learning difficulties. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

Mutual Support is an in depth exploration of the role and impact of peer support by people with learning difficulties. Built on one of the seven aims of Centres for Independent Living, the project has constructed a model of peer support based on accounts of direct experiences from people with learning difficulties. The overall aim of the research was to construct and critique the Mutual Support model of peer support and people with learning difficulties. This thesis reflects the process of that construction. The overall aim was met through a research situation in which knowledge was constructed in the interaction between the researcher and participants. This provided an opportunity for people with learning difficulties to reflect upon their relationships with one another, and the emancipatory potential of that support. The focus of the research was two pre-existing settings involving people with learning difficulties supporting one another: a Theatre Company using Forum Drama to facilitate changes in attitudes and policy, and a course facilitated by people with learning difficulties who mentored small groups. Methods used within the research were based on an Inclusive Research process which prioritises meaningful research interaction that is accessible and guided by participants. The research process intertwined meetings with advisory groups, and contact with other local groups of people with learning difficulties, with formal data collection within the two main settings. One to one experienced-based narrative interviews with people from the two main settings provided multiple opportunities for participants to speak about their experiences of peer support. These interviews formed the data used in formal analysis, which was a continual process, with subsequent interviews being based on views previously expressed. A further comprehensive descriptive content analysis of data, using the tools of Nvivo8 and mind-mapping, took place prior to the outputs of the whole project being evaluated during group sessions with those who had taken part. The emerging model is one of collective support which challenges assumptions about the role and impact of people with learning difficulties supporting one another and their capacity to engage in insightful interpersonal interaction. Mutual Support has the potential to break down barriers to inclusion. Mutual Support also demonstrates the value that people with learning difficulties place on giving and receiving support from one another. The outputs of Mutual Support include contribution to current debate in the areas of service user involvement, inclusive research, and the academic field of Disability Studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
L500 Social Work
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > School of Health, Community and Education Studies > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
University Services > Research and Innovation Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2011 14:46
Last Modified: 10 May 2017 02:48
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3747

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