The objective of this study is to report on the extent, range and nature of the research evaluating peer-led interventions following spinal cord injury, and to categorize and report information according to study design, peer role, intervention type and intended outcomes.
Arksey and O'Malley's methodological framework for conducting scoping reviews was used. Original research studies of a peer-led intervention published between 2010 and present were included. CINAHL Plus, Ovid MEDLINE and PsycINFO were searched using key terms, in addition to citation checks. Data were extracted against a previously published consolidated typology.
Significant heterogeneity in studies (n = 21) existed in aims and methods. Two studies reported on randomized controlled trials with relatively robust sample sizes and qualitative methodology was common. Peer role was frequently described as 'peer support', but there was variation in the description and duration of the interventions, complicating the categorization process. The majority of interventions were conducted one to one (n = 15). Studies most commonly aimed to address community integration (n = 15) and health self-management outcomes (n = 10).
A small number of studies were eligible for review, although increasingly with rigorous designs. The nature of the peer mentor and mentee experiences were explored, and the interaction between the two, offering rich insights to the value of lived experience. Further work refining typology describing intervention type, peer roles and outcomes would facilitate replication of programmes and study designs, enabling statistical synthesis and potentially strengthening the credibility of peers as a viable resource in in-patient and community settings.