Peer education and peer counselling for health and well-being: A review of reviews


Peer education and peer counselling for health and wellbeing have been recognized as complementary approaches to professional intervention for over 50 years, but it is relatively recently that research into effects has become adequate. Potentially, they have advantages in reaching where professionals cannot, but it has not been clear if that potential is fulfilled, although the measurement of effects is difficult. The present paper examines 58 narrative and systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the topic. In peer education, there were many reviews of sexual health and of HIV/AIDS interventions, followed by reviews of various medical conditions and in the context of prisons. More general reviews covered a wider field. In peer counselling, there were several reviews of breast-feeding and mental health. Many early reviews complained of the lack of evaluation; then, later reviews found knowledge gains but not behavior gains; then, still later reviews found both knowledge and behavior gains. Thus, peer education and counselling appear effective but only if organizational factors are well managed and the cultural context of the country respected. The implications for future practice, policy and research were outlined.


Topping KJ




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Education
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Education/media campaigns
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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