Abstract: Peer Support Provision and Job Satisfaction Among Certified Peer Specialists (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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472P Peer Support Provision and Job Satisfaction Among Certified Peer Specialists

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Orion Mowbray, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Rosalyn Denise Campbell, PhD
Lindsey Disney, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY
Megan Lee, LCSW, PhD Student, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Mariam Fatehi, MSW, Ph.D. Student and Research Assistant, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anna Scheyett, PhD, Dean, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Background and Purpose: Mental health services encompass a range of available supports and interventions, provided by an increasingly larger number of qualified professionals. Examining types of service provision and job satisfaction and who among mental health service providers are most at risk for high/low satisfaction represents an important dimension in ensuring the delivery of quality care for those who are vulnerable. One particular group within the mental health service delivery sector that has historically been overlooked are Certified Peer Specialists (CPS). CPS are individuals who have struggled with mental illness and/or substance use problems, have been successful in their recovery, and have gone through training to help others who are currently experiencing similar situations. Given the emergence of CPS in the delivery of mental health services in the United States, additional information is needed about CPS, including the types of support they most frequently provide, the satisfaction they have for their job, and whether there are any sociodemographic traits associated with service provision and job satisfaction.

Methods: Data was collected from CPS respondents attending a two-day statewide training conference during the spring of the year 2019. In total, 252 of the 300 surveys distributed were returned. Participants were asked to complete a scaled questionnaire related to types of peer support provided (a = .90) job satisfaction (a = .84), and sociodemographic information. To explore associations with examined whether any sociodemographic measures emerged as predictors. This study was reviewed and approved by the lead author’s university IRB.

Results: The multivariate regression model examining correlates of peer support provision showed that non-White respondents provided significantly more peer support compared to White respondents (B = 0.18, p < .05), and respondents who reported an income between $20,000 and $39,000 provided significantly more peer support compared to respondents with an income between $0 and $19,999 (B = 0.24, p < .05). When examining job satisfaction, the multivariate model showed that non-White respondents reported significantly lower job satisfaction compared to White respondents (B = -0.22, p < .01). The model also showed that respondents with a four-year college degree reported significantly lower job satisfaction compated to respondents with a less than high school education (B = -0.23, p < .05).

Conclusions and Implications: our work offers substantive insight into the types of services certified peer specialists offer, the satisfaction experienced on the job, and group differences where these factors diverge. While this work offers insight into potential racial/ethnic differences among certified peer specialists, more research is needed into this group before any major conclusions can be established concerning improving job satisfaction or creating more equitable volumes of peer support provision between groups. Social work practitioners can benefit from this knowledge, especially among those providing mental health services working with CPS. Through identification of differences in service provision among providers, social work can further extend its social justice mission to advocate by fighting for the rights of people and communities, particularly those who have experienced marginalization, stigma, discrimination, and oppression of any form.