Background: We employ the term postdeployment syndrome (PDS) to characterize the combinations of physical, psychological, and social difficulties frequently encountered by Veterans returning from combat.
Objectives: To conduct a scoping review to identify and describe one-to-one peer mentorship (PM) interventions, identify elements associated with positive outcome and of relevance to Veterans with PDS, and summarize current practice in a way that informs the development of such interventions for this population.
Methods: Scoping review methodology was used to identify and summarize key practices and concepts in the one-to-one PM literature between 1980 and 2012. Of 196 articles initially identified, 33 were retained for further examination. Eighteen met full-study criteria and were retained in the analyses. Three reviewers reached consensus on articles to include, and 2 coders independently extracted information from each article.
Results: A range of populations was targeted in the interventions. Most identified the provision of support as the primary goal, although some also included other educational and behavioral goals. Most employed selection and training strategies for their mentors and offered ongoing supervision and consultation. Most studies indicated that participants found PM to be beneficial.
Conclusions: This review supports the application in this population and proposes next steps for the development and systematic evaluation of PM interventions.
VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Rehabilitation Care Service (Drs Williams, Bambara, and Turner); and Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine (Drs Williams and Turner), Seattle, Washington.
Corresponding Author: Rhonda M. Williams, PhD, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, S-117-RCS, 1660 S Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108 (Rhonda.Williams1@va.gov).
The authors acknowledge the contribution of Michael Pramuka, PhD, CRC, for his role as external consultant to the scoping study process. Dr Pramuka is a rehabilitation psychologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
This material is based upon the work supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development Polytrauma and Blast-Related QUERI (RRP # 07-289 and RRP # 09-134; Dr Williams, PI), the Langeloth Foundation, and by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development (Career Development Award B4927W; Dr Turner, PI).
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.