Study published: Peer support experienced by mothers of children with congenital heart defects


A study recently published in Journal of Family Nursing has explored experiences of peer support among mothers of children with congenital heart defects.

Photo of mother and daughter in sunset

Ten mothers were interviewed
Ten mothers of children born with congenital heart defects with experience of peer support in Sweden were interviewed in the study. The analysis of the interviews was carried out through so-called systematic text condensation, a qualitative text analysis method.

Peer support important for the mothers
One of the main categories identified in the analysis was the establishment of different channels for peer support and navigation between the channels depending on what type of information or support the mothers needed.

Photo of Elisabet Mattsson
Elisabet Mattson, Professor at Ersta Sköndal
Bräcke University College and associated
researchger to U-CARE. 

Elisabet Mattsson is the principal investigator of the study:

– We found that peer support was regarded as very important for the mothers, especially for those with a recent diagnosis. But we also identified a need for help finding peer support networks at the time when they were informed about the diagnosis.

Another main category dealt with mutual communication of emotional support between the mothers. The study participants expressed that a main reason for wanting to communicate with peers was to gain insights into how life is for other mothers in similar situations. Tommy Carlsson, one of the researchers behind the study, explains:

– The mothers learned important aspects of parenthood by communicating with other mothers with similar experiences. Our results show that the support enabled them to talk with others who they felt could understand their unique situation. Aside from providing much appreciated emotional support, the communication also involved the possibility to learn from the experiences of others by receiving information that may otherwise be difficult to find or predict.

A conclusion in the study was that peer support could help limit the impact of stressful challenges, by sharing knowledge and give advice based on experiences.

Read the full paper ‘Peer support experienced by mothers of children with congenital heart defects in Sweden’. It is written by Tommy Carlsson and Elisabet Mattsson.

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Last modified: 2022-05-25