Peer mentorship and participation among adults with spinal cord injury: The moderating role of years since injury


Limited research has examined the role of spinal cord injury (SCI) peer mentors on participation in daily and social activities of adults with SCI and the variables that might modify this relationship. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which years since acquiring a SCI [i.e., years since injury (YSI)] modified the SCI peer mentorship - participation relationship. Participants [N = 131; 72% men; 51% paraplegia, Mage = 51.53 (SD= 12.26), MYSI = 18.41 (SD= 13.84)] either received (peer mentees: n = 68) or did not receive (non-peer mentees: n = 63) SCI peer mentorship. They answered an online questionnaire consisting of demographic information (e.g., YSI) and 6 participation domains: health (physical; mental), indoors (moving within the home; self-care), outdoors (moving outside the home), family role (preparing meals), social relationships (communicating), and work/education. Moderation analyses were conducted for each participation domain. YSI moderated 3 social participation domains (health, family role, and social relationships). Peer mentees reported similar levels of health participation across the YSI spectrum, but non-peer mentees reported slightly lower levels of this participation when YSI was higher (~28 YSI; B= .03, 95%CI= 0.01, 0.05). This moderation was similar for social relationships participation (B = .06, 95%CI = 0.03, 0.09). As peer mentees reported more YSI, participation in family roles increased while it remained stable for non-peer mentees (B= .07, 95%CI= 0.03, 0.13). Individuals living with SCI for many years (~28 years) appear to benefit most from peer mentorship in comparison to non-peer mentees or adults living with SCI for fewer years. To better understand SCI peer mentorship, future studies are needed to identify short-term outcomes of SCI peer mentorship.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.