The experiences of perinatal non-health workers and refugee peer leaders delivering wellbeing interventions

  • Jenny Burns

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Background: There is a paucity of research capturing experiences of charity workers delivering wellbeing courses to groups such as new mothers or refugees. Understanding their experience could help boost the efficacy of the charity sector to deliver wellbeing interventions. As a result, this could off set some of the demand on statutory services.

    Aim:This qualitative study aimed to generate theory from the experiences of non-health trained charity sector workers who were delivering well being interventions to two specific genres of people: new mothers, and refugees. In addition, this study completed a systematic literature review of the main theory categories and a process evaluation where the theory was applied to a modelled training approach.

    Methods:In-depth interviews and follow-up phone calls were undertaken with charity workers(n=8)who were delivering a wellbeing intervention to mums. These interviews were analysed using a Constructivist Grounded Theory(CGT) method generating a theory. The main categories of this theory were then used in a systematic literature review(n=20). Following this, sixteen refugees were trained using a modelled training approach based on the theory,to deliver a wellbeing intervention to their peers. A further set of interviews (n=6) were undertaken with a sample of these refugees. These interviews were analysed using CGT. Further triangulation of the use of the theory was examined through a process evaluation where questionnaires and/or observations were used with project staff (n=27).

    Results: A theory was generated from the interviews and tested through a modelled training approach. The theory represented the ‘journey’ the project participants took. This journey started with the participants ’lived experience which triggered empathic feelings towards their peers which motivated them to build a rapport and bring hope. As a result, the participants felt rewarded. The participants also experienced challenges: for example, they reported confidence issues, a sense of powerlessness and language barriers.

    Conclusions: This study presents a suggested theory that captures the experiential ‘journey'of participants delivering wellbeing interventions. For this reason, it uniquely contributes evidence that could help build workforce capacity within the charity sector for groups in transition.
    Date of Award12 Jan 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAnne Fothergill (Supervisor) & Neil Frude (Supervisor)


    • experience
    • peer worker
    • volunteer
    • perinatal mental health
    • refugees
    • third sector
    • charity sector
    • workforce capacity building

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