Original research| Volume 100, ISSUE 10, P1916-1923, October 2019

Investigating Characteristics of Quality Peer Mentors With Spinal Cord Injury



      To identify characteristics (1) of high- and low-quality spinal cord injury (SCI) peer mentors; (2) that should be used to match SCI peer mentors and mentees.


      The study was conducted in partnership with three Canadian provincial SCI organizations using an integrated knowledge translation approach. The Delphi exercise was completed in three rounds. In Round 1, people with SCI completed a thought-listing exercise to identify characteristics of high- and low-quality peer mentors and for matching. In Rounds 2 and 3, people with SCI and community organization staff rated characteristics from the previous round on an 11-point scale. After the final round, the remaining characteristics were thematically analyzed.


      Community-based peer mentorship programs in three Canadian provinces.


      People with SCI and SCI community organization staff (Round 1, n=45; Round 2, n=27; Round 3, n=25).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Consensus-based list of characteristics.


      Participants reached consensus on 215 characteristics of quality peer mentors and 11 characteristics for peer mentor-mentee matching (ICC=0.96). A consensus-based characterization of high- and low-quality peer mentorship was created and included six overarching themes: competencies, personality characteristics, emotional state, mentor outlook, reason for mentoring, and role model.


      A consensus-based characterization of quality peer mentorship was co-developed with input from over 50 members of the SCI community. Findings highlight that peers have both interpersonal and intrapersonal characteristics that contribute to quality mentorship. The findings highlighted the importance of matching mentors on lived experience and shared interests. Findings will inform future research and SCI peer mentorship programs.


      List of abbreviations:

      ICC (intraclass correlation coefficient), IKT (integrated knowledge translation), SCI (spinal cord injury)
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