Peer support groups in multiple sclerosis: Current effectiveness and future directions

M. Messmer Uccelli*, L. Mancuso Mohr, M. A. Battaglia, P. Zagami, D. C. Mohr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Peer support programs have become a common method of providing support for patients with chronic illness. Utilizing peers as resources has been proposed as an effective means for coping with a stressful life experience and for gaining support from others who share a common factor, although data are somewhat mixed on the efficacy of peer support. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of eight weeks of a standard form of peer support in improving quality of life and reducing depressive symptoms in 44 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). One person from each of six groups participated in a training course in order to learn basic principles of peer support. Eight weekly sessions were held and patients completed self-administered questionnaires pre- and post-treatment assessing quality of life and depression. Results showed that support groups do not provide consistent improvement in quality of life or depression in patients with MS and suggest that patients who have better mental health functioning could be at risk for deterioration in support groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-84
Number of pages5
JournalMultiple Sclerosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Chronic illness
  • Depression
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peer support
  • Quality of life
  • Self-help

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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