Although informal peer support has been a central feature of recovery for people with substance use disorder (SUD), more recently there has been a stark increase in formal models of peer support. In the infancy of formalized peer support, researchers warned of potential threats to the integrity of the peer support role. Now, almost two decades into the rapid expansion of peer support, research has yet to evaluate the extent to which peer support is being implemented with fidelity and role integrity. The present study aimed to assess peer workers’ perceptions of peer role integrity. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 peer workers in Central Kentucky. Results suggest that the role of peers is not well understood by onboarding organizations, and thus, the integrity of peer support is diluted. Findings from this study suggest room for improvement in the training, supervision, and implementation of peer support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Mutual aid
  • Peer support
  • Peer work
  • Recovery support
  • Role integrity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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