Peers Helping Peers: The effectiveness of a peer support program in enhancing self-concept and other desirable outcomes

Year: 2003

Author: Ellis, Louise, Marsh, Herbert, Craven, Rhonda, Richards, Garry

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This study examined the effects of participation in a peer support program designed to smooth the transition to adolescence and secondary school for seventh-graders by enhancing self-concept and other desirable outcomes. Participants in the study were students from a secondary school in Sydney, Australia. One hundred and thirty Grade 7 students participated in weekly groups facilitated by Year 10 students, and served as the experimental group. The program consisted of 12 fifty minute sessions. Study participants in the experimental and control groups completed an extensive self-report questionnaire on 3 occasions (near the beginning of the year, 12 weeks later, and towards the end of the year). The results suggested that, although the peer support program had no impact on self-concept, significant effects were found for participant's ability to adapt to change, coping strategies, and attitudes towards bullying. Moreover, these effects seemed to be retained over time.