Paper in Health Expectations
- Zordan, R. D., Juraskova, I., Butow, P.N., Jolan, A., Kirsten, L. Chapman, J., Sedgwick, C., Charles, M. and Sundquist, K. (2010). Exploring the impact of training on the experience of Australian support group leaders: current practices and implications for research. Health Expectations, 13, pp.427–440.
Background: Existing literature suggests that the effectiveness of a support group is linked to the qualifications, skills and experience of the group leader. Yet, little research has been conducted into the experiences of trained vs. untrained support group leaders of chronic-illness support groups. The current study aimed to compare the experience of leaders, trained vs. untrained in group facilitation, in terms of challenges, rewards and psychological wellbeing.
Methods: A total of 358 Australian leaders of cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS) support groups, recruited through State Cancer Councils and the MS society (response rate of 66%), completed a mailed survey.
Results: Compared with untrained leaders, those with training were significantly younger, leading smaller groups and facilitating more groups, more frequently (all P
Conclusions: Group facilitator training has the potential to reduce the burden of support group leadership. Developing interventions to assist support group leaders will be particularly beneficial for leaders with minimal or no training group facilitation training.