Peer-based approaches can be more acceptable to young people

This aspect is particularly important for at risk youth who may feel less intimidated in groups where people are facing similar issues than in programs which attract a more diverse target group.

Peer-based programs can increase social support for at risk youth by providing:

  • instrumental help (e.g. provide an approachable source of help and guidance to access specialist help/services),
  • emotional help (e.g. developing personal pride and increased confidence),
  • informational support (e.g. learning social skills by observing positive role models), and
  • appraisal support (e.g. offering an opportunity to explore and develop personal potential/capacities).1,2

Furthermore, a safe space is usually created in a peer-based supportĀ program which allows safe, supportive and experiential learning (e.g. practicing coping strategies) that is needed by all adolescents to help them make sense of their environments and develop a positive self identity.


  1. Doull, M, O’Connor, A, Robinson, V, Tugwell, P & Wells, G 2005, ‘Peer support strategies for improving the health and well-being of individuals with chronic diseases’, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, vol. 1.
  2. Peer Systems Consulting Group Inc. 2000, ‘Peer Resources – Peer Helping Programs, Organizations, Services’.