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The missing link-participants' perspectives on transfer from psychosocial interventional contexts to everyday community life: a qualitative synthesis of interventional studies

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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to illuminate participants' experiences with transfer in (1) Illness Management and Recovery (IMR); and (2) two programs based on peer support: Turning Points, and Learn to Tackle Anxiety and Depression (LTAD); and whether peer support within these programs influenced the process of transfer beyond the interventional context. Furthermore, we investigated participants' experiences with a community-based intervention [Individual Placement and Support (IPS)] to explore perspectives on mechanisms that may eliminate challenges in the transfer process.

METHODS: The study was based on semi-structured interviews with participants with mental illness, from four different psychosocial interventions with and without peer support and across interventional settings. The material partly consists of secondary analyses of existing data sets of anonymised, transcribed interviews investigating participants' experience from two psychosocial interventions: Illness Management and Recovery (n = 15), and Individual Placement and Support (n = 12). Additionally, we conducted semi-structured interviews with persons who had participated in one of two peer-led programs: Turning Points and Learn How to Tackle Anxiety and Depression (n = 12). The analysis was guided by a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach to illuminate transfer processes and was based on the template method described by Nigel King.

RESULTS: Applying a transfer perspective on rehabilitation interventions identified everyday life situations where capacities learned during the interventions were utilized and conditions were highlighted that promoted or hindered transfer. Experiential knowledge and peer-exchange made transferal pathways between the interventional context and everyday life. Illness intrusiveness and uncertainty, together with environmental obstacles, generated transferal gaps. Individualized support could partly address these gaps.

CONCLUSION: Findings from this qualitative study illuminate how peer-support in group-based rehabilitation interventions increased social functioning and developed better self-care strategies that can be transferred to daily life. Interventions situated in mental health settings, e.g. outpatient clinics, had limited impact on participation in broader community life. Advancing rehabilitation services in mental health may benefit from tailoring services to address illness fluctuation and combining group sessions with individualized support together with acknowledging and overcoming environmental obstacles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • Humans, Learning, Mental Disorders/therapy, Peer Group, Qualitative Research, Inclusion, Mental health, Recovery, Social psychiatry, Qualitative study, Self-management, Rehabilitation, Peer-support

ID: 65747573