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Augmenting Ongoing Depression Care With a Mutual Peer Support Intervention Versus Self-Help Materials Alone: A Randomized Trial.
Valenstein M, Pfeiffer PN, Brandfon S, Walters H, Ganoczy D, Kim HM, Cohen JL, Benn-Burton W, Carroll E, Henry J, Garcia E, Risk B, Kales HC, Piette JD, Heisler M. Augmenting Ongoing Depression Care With a Mutual Peer Support Intervention Versus Self-Help Materials Alone: A Randomized Trial. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2016 Feb 1; 67(2):236-9.
Various models of peer support may be implemented in mental health settings. This randomized trial assessed the effectiveness of a telephone-delivered mutual peer support intervention.
A total of 443 patients receiving ongoing depression treatment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were enrolled in either enhanced usual care (N = 243) or the peer support intervention (N = 200). Intent-to-treat analyses assessed outcomes at six months postenrollment, excluding 56 patients who experienced an unplanned telephone platform shutdown.
At baseline, patients had substantial depressive symptoms, functional limitations, and low quality of life. Both groups showed significant clinical improvements at six months, with no significant differences by group.
Telephone-delivered mutual peer support for patients with depression did not improve outcomes beyond those observed with enhanced usual care. Other peer support models, with more "professionalized" peers delivering a structured curriculum, may be more effective.