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Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2006 Winter;29(3):205-13.

The personal and vocational impact of training and employing people with psychiatric disabilities as providers.

Author information

  • 1Boston University, Director of Services, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



This study examined the feasibility of a structured peer provider training program and its effect on peer providers with respect to their own personal and vocational recovery.


Sixty-six individuals participated in an evaluation of a 60-hour, 5-week long peer training program. Participants were assessed prior to and after the training on scales to measure recovery, empowerment and self-concept. Analyses of variance were used to examine subjective changes in these measures. Job acquisition and retention data were also examined at posttest.


Participants experienced gains in perceived empowerment, attitudes toward recovery and self-concept. Trainees went on to obtain peer provider positions within the mental health agency in which they received the training and 89% of those trained retained employment at 12 months. Twenty-nine percent of the initial jobs into which the peer providers were placed were full-time; 52% were part-time and 19% were hourly.


Findings suggest that a standardized program designed to provide peer training was used successfully and participants' recovery and employability were improved. Further studies are recommended to rigorously test peer providers' impact on their clients and to examine the advantages that accrue to the agency when mental health recipients are employed as peer providers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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