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Exploring peer-mentoring for community dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain: a qualitative study.

Cooper, Kay; Schofield, Patricia; Klein, Susan; Smith, Blair H.; Jehu, Llinos M.


Patricia Schofield

Susan Klein

Blair H. Smith

Llinos M. Jehu


Objectives To explore the perceptions of patients, physiotherapists, and potential peer mentors on the topic of peer-mentoring for self-management of chronic low back pain following discharge from physiotherapy. Design Exploratory, qualitative study. Participants Twelve patients, 11 potential peer mentors and 13 physiotherapists recruited from physiotherapy departments and community locations in one health board area of the UK. Interventions Semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Main outcome measures Participants’ perceptions of the usefulness and appropriateness of peer-mentoring following discharge from physiotherapy. Data were processed and analysed using the framework method. Results Four key themes were identified: (i) self-management strategies, (ii) barriers to self-management and peer-mentoring, (iii) vision of peer-mentoring, and (iv) the voice of experience. Peer-mentoring may be beneficial for some older adults with chronic low back pain. Barriers to peer-mentoring were identified, and many solutions for overcoming them. No single format was identified as superior; participants emphasised the need for any intervention to be flexible and individualised. Important aspects to consider in developing a peer-mentoring intervention are recruitment and training of peer mentors and monitoring the mentor–mentee relationship. Conclusions This study has generated important knowledge that is being used to design and test a peer-mentoring intervention on a group of older people with chronic low back pain and volunteer peer mentors. If successful, peer-mentoring could provide a cost effective method of facilitating longer-term self-management of a significant health condition in older people.


COOPER, K., SCHOFIELD, P., KLEIN, S., SMITH, B.H. and JEHU, L.M. 2017. Exploring peer-mentoring for community dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain: a qualitative study. Physiotherapy [online], 103(2), pages 138-145. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 21, 2016
Online Publication Date May 26, 2016
Publication Date Jun 30, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 2, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 2, 2016
Journal Physiotherapy (Elsevier)
Print ISSN 0031-9406
Electronic ISSN 1873-1465
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 103
Issue 2
Pages 138-145
Keywords Chronic low back pain; Peer support; Peer mentoring; Self management; Older adults
Public URL


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