Formal Youth Mentoring Relationships Between Adolescent Girls and Adult Women

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Journal of Primary Prevention

This study found that successful female mentors can have a strong positive influence by providing emotional support, confidence building and stress relief to girls. Based on in-depth interviews with 12 female adult-child mentoring pairs, the study found that mentors fulfilled three main roles in the lives of the girls.

First, mentors provided the girls with authentic emotional support by listening respectfully without passing judgment. Mentors offered their undivided attention to the girls for long periods of time, something the girls’ parents could not always do.

Successful relationships also helped the girls develop new skills and confidence. The mentors encouraged the girls to try new activities, overcome challenges, build specific skills and address their fears.

Finally, the mentors provided relief from daily stress; they often engaged in fun activities, such as getting ice cream or going to the mall.

The study found that successful mentoring relationships combine “instrumental” support, such as problem solving and skill building, with psychosocial support based on interpersonal relationships and building character traits. Subscription available for $34, 22 pages. (212) 460-1500, content/n28121t61m3g6m03.