Exploring interaction modality and frequency of interaction employed by peer mentorship interventions for people with disabilities


Introduction: Research has shown that peer mentorship can influence psychosocial factors (e.g. self-efficacy, social support) known to influence physical activity for persons with disabilities (PWD). To date, no review has examined characteristics of peer mentorship (specifically, interaction modality and frequency) that may influence the quality of this service. The objective of this scoping review was to synthesize the academic literature and report on the interaction modality and frequency employed in peer mentorship interventions for PWD. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, and SportDiscus were searched for articles that employed one-to-one peer mentorship interventions for people with spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, spina bifida, spinal stenosis, amputee, muscular dystrophy, or fibromyalgia. A total of 2105 articles were screened, with 16 meeting the review inclusion criteria. Results: Five different forms of interaction modalities were reported across the 16 studies (i.e., face-to-face, telephone, text, email, video chat). The majority of studies (n=11) included face-to-face interactions and ten studies incorporated several interaction modalities. Intervention length varied greatly (R=6-104 weeks) as did the frequency of weekly interactions between mentors and mentees (R=0.17-2.16). Only five studies allowed participants to self-select their number of interactions. Implications: The results of this study could inform the development of new peer mentorship programming to support physical activity in PWD. Further research is needed to investigate the impact that interaction modality and frequency have on the quality of peer mentorship interactions for PWD and the effect this could have on physical activity participation.