4 Evidence-based benefits of seeking peer support

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
Description / Summary

The Bottom Line

  • Peers are equal to us in aspects such as age, background, or ability.
  • Seeking support from peers—who can provide advice and encouragement based on lived experience—is a promising strategy for improving health outcomes.
  • Group therapy/smoking cessation programs increase the chances of successfully quitting smoking, compared to self-help.
  • Compared to other well-established treatments, standardized peer-led Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programs and professionally-led Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) programs are more effective at increasing abstinence in people battling alcohol use disorder, alcohol abuse, or alcohol dependence.
  • Frequent one-on-one peer support may improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, compared to standard diabetes care.
  • Peer-led exercise programs and peer-support programs have the potential to help older adults maintain their participation in exercise programs.
  • Consider accessing virtual peer support programs or services if you’re looking for help with smoking cessation, alcohol abstinence, type 2 diabetes management, and exercise adherence.