Family peer advocates : strengthening the alliance among high need families and mental health providers




Jamison, Jesslyn M.

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Family Peer Advocates (FPAs) are one type of peer-to-peer support proposed to help address unmet mental health needs of children and families and augment mental health treatment. This study examined whether FPA support predicted child mental health symptoms and therapeutic alliance with mental health providers at the end of mental health treatment for a sample of families in a larger effectiveness trial (N = 114) who elected to have support from a FPA (n= 76) and families who did not (n = 38). Study participants were primarily Caucasian/European(79.8%) and Child Welfare referred (75%). Additionally, this study examined whether being referred for treatment by Child Welfare moderated the relationship between FPA support and changes in child symptoms and parental therapeutic alliance with a mental health provider. Results indicated that FPA support did not predict child symptoms at end of outpatient mental health treatment or parent rating of therapeutic alliance in the sample as a whole. Child Welfare referral status moderated the relationship between FPA support and parental ratings of therapeutic alliance. Support from an FPA was a significant predictor of parental ratings of therapeutic alliance for families who were referred to treatment by Child Welfare (b = 3.88, t = 2.48, p = 0.015, ηp2 = .077), suggesting that FPA support may augment the therapeutic alliance with outpatient mental health provider for highly strained families. Keywords: Family Peer Advocate; Child Mental Health; Therapeutic Alliance; Child Welfare


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