'Progression capitals': How homeless health peer advocacy impacts peer advocates

P J Annand, Lucy Platt, Sujit D Rathod, Paniz Hosseini, Andrew Guise

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This article presents analysis from a qualitative evaluation of a homeless health peer advocacy (HHPA) service in London, United Kingdom. Whilst evidence is growing for the impact of peer programming on clients, understanding of the impact on peers themselves is limited in the context of homelessness. Research here is vital for supporting sustainable and effective programmes. Analysis of interview data with 14 current and former peer advocates, 2 members of staff and 3 external stakeholders suggests peer advocacy and its organizational setting can generate social, human, cultural and physical resources to help peer advocates fulfil their own life goals. We explore these with reference to 'recovery capital', reframed as 'progression capitals' to reflect its relevance for pursuits unrelated to clinical understandings of recovery. Progression capitals can be defined as resources to pursue individually determined goals relating to self-fulfilment. We find engagement with, and benefits from, a peer advocacy service is most feasible among individuals already possessing some 'progression capital'. We discuss the value of progression capitals for peers alongside the implications of the role being unsalaried within a neoliberal political economy, and comment on the value that the progression capitals framework offers for the development and assessment of peer interventions more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114770
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date22 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022


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