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The benefits of being a Senior Peer Counselor

Marsha Bari Goldman, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to investigate the benefits of being a Senior Peer Counselor, using both questionnaires and interviews. Thirty-six urban/suburban dwelling Senior Peer Counselors were queried about their life satisfaction before and after becoming Senior Peer Counselors. They were compared to a group of thirty-six active seniors living in a rural/suburban community. The increase in senior counselors' level of life satisfaction was statistically significant, however the difference between their final level and that of comparison group members was not statistically significant. Three directors of Senior Peer Counseling programs were interviewed about their perceptions of the benefits of being a Senior Peer Counselor. Two main themes emerged from these interviews. The directors felt that group support had a positive affect on well-being, specifically, training and supervision, and that being a trained peer counselor had a positive affect on personal development. Recommendations are proposed for the development of Senior Peer Counseling programs that would train and utilize volunteer Senior Peer Counselors to have therapeutic relationships with their senior clients, thereby benefiting both.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Developmental psychology|Gerontology

Recommended Citation

Goldman, Marsha Bari, "The benefits of being a Senior Peer Counselor" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3212730.