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Experiences of peer support amongst parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders: A qualitative systematic review

Published:September 14, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2022.09.004

      Highlights

      • Parents seek peer support due to inadequacy of formal and family support systems.
      • Peer support provides emotional, appraisal, informational and instrumental support.
      • Success of peer support depends on attitude alignment and creation of safe space.
      • Cultural beliefs, inaccessibility, inferiority and unmet expectations are barriers.

      Abstract

      Problem

      Peer support is a form of social support that can address the complexities of support needs and challenges of parenting children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDDs). However, there is paucity of research on the roles and influences of peer support experienced amongst parents of neurodivergent children. This qualitative systematic review therefore aimed to consolidate and synthesize the experiences of peer support amongst parents caring for neurodivergent children.

      Eligibility criteria

      Articles were selected if they reported primary qualitative findings on the experiences of peer-support amongst parents of children diagnosed with at least one NDD as classified by DSM-5.

      Sample

      Eleven articles were finalised and included in the review.

      Results

      Four themes emerged: (1) reasons for seeking peer support, (2) different roles of peer support, (3) contributing elements of successful peer support, and (4) barriers against facilitating peer support. The findings of this review revealed that peer support was a valuable social support resource that met the complex support needs of parents. It enabled parents to provide quality care for their children whilst living with quality of life for themselves.

      Conclusions

      Peer support could be a valuable resource for parents of neurodivergent children as it could potentially enhance quality of life for parents while providing quality care for their children with complex needs.

      Implications

      Healthcare providers should integrate peer support as an adjunct resource of social support to help ease caregiver burdens of parents with neurodivergent children.

      Keywords

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