Peer counseling is support and guidance provided by a trained nonprofessional who has a similar symptom or health problem. Peer counseling was examined as an intervention for hot flashes and depression. Aspects of peer counseling may also be incorporated into a broader range of supportive and psychoeducational interventions that have been tested in multiple topic areas.
Effectiveness Not Established
Research Evidence Summaries
Schover, L.R., Jenkins, R., Sui, D., Adams, J.H., Marion, M.S., & Jackson, K.E. (2006). Randomized trial of peer counseling on reproductive health in African American breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 24, 1620–1626.doi:10.1200/JCO.2005.04.7159
The study evaluated a peer counseling program to improve sexual function, increase knowledge about reproductive health, and decrease menopausal symptoms and infertility-related distress for African American breast cancer survivors.
Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:
Participants were randomly assigned to immediate counseling or a three-month waitlist. Three peer counselors conducted a three-session intervention using a detailed workbook
The study enrolled a convenience sample of 60 African American women MD Anderson Center.
The study used the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial Menopause Symptom Checklist.
Women had fewer problems with hot flashes with counseling. Knowledge of reproductive issues improved significantly from baseline to three-month follow-up (p < .0001), as did emotional distress (p < .0047), and menopause symptoms (p < .0128). Sexually dysfunctional women became less distressed (p < .0167).
This was a small convenience sample, and there was a short follow-up time (3 months). Hot flashes were not the primary focus of the study.