Question: In adults with severe and enduring mental health conditions, how effective are interventions which aim to improve social inclusion and social support, compared to any other intervention, in improving patient functioning, health and wellbeing?


No definite clinical implications can be make from the available evidence. As the authors of one systematic review aptly state: "The current evidence is insufficient to conclude that peer support interventions are ineffective, but also insufficient to recommend peer support in general or any particular type of peer intervention."

The authors of the various studies included in this BEST summary consistently stated the need for further high-quality research on peer support. It has been variously suggested that new studies should focus on different types of peer support (i.e. emotional, appraisal, and information support), that there is a need to develop and test theory-based interventions, that the studies should evaluate factors that influence intervention adherence, and that the studies should include a process evaluation to help understand mechanisms of effectiveness.

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