The impact of volunteering on the volunteer: findings from a peer support programme for family carers of people with dementia

Charlesworth, Georgina, Sinclair, James B., Brooks, Alice, Sullivan, Theresa, Ahmad, Shaheen and Poland, Fiona ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0003-6911 (2017) The impact of volunteering on the volunteer: findings from a peer support programme for family carers of people with dementia. Health & Social Care in the Community, 25 (2). 548–558. ISSN 0966-0410

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Abstract

With an ageing population, there are increasing numbers of experienced family carers (FCs) who could provide peer support to newer carers in a similar care situation. The aims of this paper are to: (i) use a cross-sectional study design to compare characteristics of volunteers and recipients of a peer support programme for FCs of people with dementia, in terms of demographic background, social networks and psychological well-being; and (ii) use a longitudinal study design to explore the overall impact of the programme on the volunteers in terms of psychological well-being. Data were collected from programmes run in Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Berkshire and four London boroughs between October 2009 and March 2013. The volunteer role entailed empathic listening and encouragement over a 10-month period. Both carer support volunteers (N = 87) and recipient FCs (N = 109) provided baseline demographic information. Data on social networks, personal growth, self-efficacy, service use and well-being (SF-12; EuroQol Visual Analogue Scale; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; Control, Autonomy, Self-Realisation, Pleasure-19) were collected prior to the start of the intervention (N = 43) and at either 3- to 5 month or 10 month follow-up (N = 21). Volunteers were more likely than recipients of support to be female and to have cared for a parent/grandparent rather than spouse. Volunteers were also more psychologically well than support recipients in terms of personal growth, depression and perceived well-being. The longitudinal analysis identified small but significant declines in personal growth and autonomy and a positive correlation between the volunteers' duration of involvement and perceived well-being. These findings suggest that carers who volunteer for emotional support roles are resilient and are at little psychological risk from volunteering.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: caregiver,carer,dementia,peer support,volunteer,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 12:00
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2022 18:41
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59037
DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12341

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