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"For them and for me": a qualitative exploration of peer befrienders' experiences supporting people with aphasia in the SUPERB feasibility trial

Northcott, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-8229-5452, Behn, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-9356-9957, Monnelly, K. , Moss, B., Marshall, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6589-221X, Thomas, S., Simpson, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3286-9846, McVicker, S., Flood, C., Goldsmith, K. & Hilari, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-2091-4849 (2021). "For them and for me": a qualitative exploration of peer befrienders' experiences supporting people with aphasia in the SUPERB feasibility trial. Disability and Rehabilitation, 44(18), pp. 5025-5037. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2021.1922520


PURPOSE: Peer-befriending, where support is offered by someone with shared lived experience, is an intervention that may facilitate successful adjustment in people experiencing post-stroke aphasia. This paper explores the experiences of the peer-befrienders.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: People with aphasia were recruited as peer-befrienders within the SUPERB trial investigating befriending for people with post-stroke aphasia. The intervention comprised six visits over three months. Peer-befrienders were matched with at least one befriendee and received training and ongoing supervision. They were invited to participate in in-depth interviews which were analysed using framework analysis.

RESULTS: All 10 befrienders participated in interviews, reporting on 19 matches. Seven main themes emerged: content of the sessions; befriender-befriendee relationship; negotiating the visits; handling boundaries and endings; positive impact of the befriending for befrienders and befriendees; and beliefs about the nature and value of peer support. While befrienders described challenges, such as negotiating journeys and witnessing distress, the role was perceived as a "secure challenge" due to the support and training received.

CONCLUSIONS: Befrienders perceived the role as enjoyable and rewarding, and felt they were making a positive difference. They were unanimous in believing that people with aphasia can offer unique and valuable support to others with aphasia.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: Peer-befriending; aphasia; stroke; psychological wellbeing; qualitative; SUPERB trial
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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