SHE'S LIKE MY SECOND MOM: A MIXED METHOD STUDY ABOUT HOMELESS YOUTH AND NATURAL MENTORS

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/211562
Type:
Research Study
Title:
SHE'S LIKE MY SECOND MOM: A MIXED METHOD STUDY ABOUT HOMELESS YOUTH AND NATURAL MENTORS
Abstract:
Purposes/Aims: The purpose of this study was to explore the presence and characteristics of natural mentoring relationships among homeless youth and whether these relationships could serve as a protective factor against poor health and developmental outcomes. Rationale/Conceptual Basis/Background: In comparison with their housed peers, homeless youth experience considerably higher rates of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, victimization, sexual exploitation, and risky sexual behaviors (Toro, Dworksy, & Fowler, 2007; Whitbeck, 2009). Past research on homeless youth has primarily focused on risks associated with homelessness and deviant peer networks (Rew, 2008; Whitbeck, Hoyt, & Ackley, 1997). Natural mentors are important nonparental adults who provide guidance and support. Natural mentoring relationships are a normative part of adolescent development and may be under-recognized as a source of intervention for at-risk youth (Bernat & Resnick, 2009; Dubois & Silverthorn, 2005). Methods: The study used a mixed-method design and included 197 homeless youth aged 14 to 21 (58% female; 42% male). Participants were recruited from multiple points of entry through a collaborative effort with community agencies that served homeless youth and various street locations. Participants responded to questionnaires using audio computer-assisted self-interviews (audio-CASI). Twenty-three of the 197 participants who reported having natural mentors participated in semi-structured interviews about the nature and characteristics of mentoring relationships. Data collection occurred over nine months. Measures included quality of mentoring relationship, family and school connectedness, peer relationships, social support, sexual behavior, problem behaviors, substance use, and mental health. Results: Results revealed that 73.6% of youth reported having natural mentors. Mentoring relationships emanated from diverse social relationships within the youth’s social networks that included kin and nonkin adults. Chi-square and independent t-tests revealed that participants with natural mentors did not differ in age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, educational attainment, employment, or history of homelessness from the nonmentored participants. Regression analyses demonstrated that participants with natural mentors reported higher satisfaction with social support even when controlling for family connectedness and less risky sexual behaviors. An iterative open-coding technique was employed to generate main ideas and experiences from the interviews. A list of codes was independently generated by two investigators, reviewed for agreement, and finalized. Themes from the interviews revealed that natural mentors served as surrogate parents and provided substantial social support. Participants with nonkin mentors met their mentors either through formal channels such as schools or community agencies or through people within their social networks such as romantic partners or friends. Participants reported that they became closer with their mentors over time and perceived their mentors as parental figures. Implications: Despite their transient status and often disconnected relationships with their parents, homeless youth can have meaningful relationships with caring nonparental adults. The findings also suggest that natural mentors are a critical source of social support for homeless youth and could feasibly serve as an intervention for increasing social assets in the lives of homeless youth and assisting them out of homelessness. Furthermore, the fact that the majority of youth perceived their mentors as parental figures elucidates a possible psychological underpinning to natural mentoring relationships for homeless youth.
Keywords:
Homeless Youth; Mentoring
Repository Posting Date:
20-Feb-2012
Date of Publication:
20-Feb-2012
Other Identifiers:
4396
Sponsors:
Western Institute of Nursing

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.typeResearch Studyen_GB
dc.titleSHE'S LIKE MY SECOND MOM: A MIXED METHOD STUDY ABOUT HOMELESS YOUTH AND NATURAL MENTORSen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/211562-
dc.description.abstractPurposes/Aims: The purpose of this study was to explore the presence and characteristics of natural mentoring relationships among homeless youth and whether these relationships could serve as a protective factor against poor health and developmental outcomes. Rationale/Conceptual Basis/Background: In comparison with their housed peers, homeless youth experience considerably higher rates of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, victimization, sexual exploitation, and risky sexual behaviors (Toro, Dworksy, & Fowler, 2007; Whitbeck, 2009). Past research on homeless youth has primarily focused on risks associated with homelessness and deviant peer networks (Rew, 2008; Whitbeck, Hoyt, & Ackley, 1997). Natural mentors are important nonparental adults who provide guidance and support. Natural mentoring relationships are a normative part of adolescent development and may be under-recognized as a source of intervention for at-risk youth (Bernat & Resnick, 2009; Dubois & Silverthorn, 2005). Methods: The study used a mixed-method design and included 197 homeless youth aged 14 to 21 (58% female; 42% male). Participants were recruited from multiple points of entry through a collaborative effort with community agencies that served homeless youth and various street locations. Participants responded to questionnaires using audio computer-assisted self-interviews (audio-CASI). Twenty-three of the 197 participants who reported having natural mentors participated in semi-structured interviews about the nature and characteristics of mentoring relationships. Data collection occurred over nine months. Measures included quality of mentoring relationship, family and school connectedness, peer relationships, social support, sexual behavior, problem behaviors, substance use, and mental health. Results: Results revealed that 73.6% of youth reported having natural mentors. Mentoring relationships emanated from diverse social relationships within the youth’s social networks that included kin and nonkin adults. Chi-square and independent t-tests revealed that participants with natural mentors did not differ in age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, educational attainment, employment, or history of homelessness from the nonmentored participants. Regression analyses demonstrated that participants with natural mentors reported higher satisfaction with social support even when controlling for family connectedness and less risky sexual behaviors. An iterative open-coding technique was employed to generate main ideas and experiences from the interviews. A list of codes was independently generated by two investigators, reviewed for agreement, and finalized. Themes from the interviews revealed that natural mentors served as surrogate parents and provided substantial social support. Participants with nonkin mentors met their mentors either through formal channels such as schools or community agencies or through people within their social networks such as romantic partners or friends. Participants reported that they became closer with their mentors over time and perceived their mentors as parental figures. Implications: Despite their transient status and often disconnected relationships with their parents, homeless youth can have meaningful relationships with caring nonparental adults. The findings also suggest that natural mentors are a critical source of social support for homeless youth and could feasibly serve as an intervention for increasing social assets in the lives of homeless youth and assisting them out of homelessness. Furthermore, the fact that the majority of youth perceived their mentors as parental figures elucidates a possible psychological underpinning to natural mentoring relationships for homeless youth.en_GB
dc.subjectHomeless Youthen_GB
dc.subjectMentoringen_GB
dc.date.available2012-02-20T12:02:27Z-
dc.date.issued2012-02-20T12:02:27Z-
dc.date.accessioned2012-02-20T12:02:27Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipWestern Institute of Nursingen_GB
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