A description of the experiences of older people (50+) taking part in a peer support group established to reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Miranda Quinney, Anne Fothergill, Juping Yu, Rachel Taylor, Antonis Kousoulis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


In 2019- 2022 The Mental Health Foundation (MHF), a third sector organisation, will deliver Standing Together Cymru (STC) , a facilitated peer support group intervention established to reduce loneliness and social isolation for older people living in retirement housing sites.

Each STC group ( Group) will run weekly and initalliy be professionally facilitated. Volunteers will be trained to co-facilitate groups. Volunteer facilitators may be group members .The professional facilitators will withdraw after 6 months at which point the Group will be sustained by volunteer facilitators .

The MHF has granted the research team access to members of the Group to conduct a PhD Study. The Study seeks to describe the experience and motivations of taking part in STC from the perspectives of the older people.

Using a phenomenological design, the Study will describe the experience of taking part in a Group by analysing the transcripts of about 24 one- to- one, face- to- face in-depth interviews conducted with the older people before and after the period of professional facilitation. The study design has been selected with a view to giving agency to the participant to describe their personal motivations for and experiences of taking part in the Group, as they perceive them over time.
Analysis of the transcripts will use Giorgi’s five step process adapted allowing analysis to begin immediately after each interview and allowing for discussion of emerging themes amongst the research team between stages.

Result /Outcome
It is not known what will happen to the Group when professional facilitation ends. It is hoped that some of the older people will volunteer to facilitate the Group. The interview timetable will provide an opportunity for Group members to describe their experiences at this later stage. Participant experiences may include a decision to facilitate, to continue to take part or to leave the Group. Should the Group cease to exist, Participants interviewed when it did exist will be invited to share their experiences after its dissolution.

The study is awaiting ethical approval from the University of South Wales .Data gathering and analysis will start in about April 2019. Accordingly conclusions cannot be drawn at this stage.

Key Words:
Peer Support Groups, Descriptive phenomenology, Agency
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2019
EventABUHB R&D Conference 2019: Clinical Futures: Delivering "A Healthier Wales" - Christchurch Centre, Newport, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jun 201911 Jun 2019


ConferenceABUHB R&D Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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