Mentoring Relationships and the Mental Health of Aboriginal Youth in Canada
- 1.3k Downloads
We compared the mentoring experiences and mental health and behavioral outcomes associated with program-supported mentoring for 125 Aboriginal (AB) and 734 non-Aboriginal (non-AB) youth ages 6–17 participating in a national survey of Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring relationships. Parents or guardians reported on youth mental health and other outcomes at baseline (before youth were paired to a mentor) and at 18 months follow-up. We found that AB youth were significantly less likely than non-AB youth to be in a long-term continuous mentoring relationship. However, AB youth were more likely than non-AB youth to be in a long-term relationship ending in dissolution. AB youth were also more likely than non-AB youth to have been mentored by a female adult. AB youth were significantly more likely than non-AB youth to report a high quality mentoring relationship, regular weekly contact with their mentor, and monthly mentoring activities. Structural equation model results revealed that, relative to non-mentored AB youth, AB youth with mentors experienced significantly fewer emotional problems and symptoms of social anxiety. These relationships were not found for non-AB youth. Our findings suggest that mentoring programs may be an effective intervention for improving the health and well-being of AB youth.
KeywordsMentoring Relationships Aboriginal youth Mental health
The authors would like to thank Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and the local BBBS agencies for supporting this study. This research has been funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP 81115 and MOP 130435).
Compliance With Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. (2013). Aboriginal demographics from the 2011 National Household Survey. Ottawa, ON: Planning Research and Statistics Branch.Google Scholar
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. (2014). Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Learning Center. http://www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/en/Home/default.aspx.
- Bombay, A., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2009). Intergenerational trauma: Convergence of multiple processes among First Nations peoples in Canada. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 5(3), 6–47.Google Scholar
- Brown, L. (2014). Kids in far-flung towns get help from mentors thousands of kilometers away. The.star.com Retrieved January 13, 2016 from: http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2014/07/14/kids_in_farflung_towns_get_help_from_mentors_thousands_of_kilometres_away.html.
- Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008). Cultural continuity as a moderator of suicide risk among Canada’s First Nations. In L. Kirmayer & G. Valaskakis (Eds.), Healing traditions: The mental health of Aboriginal peoples in Canada (pp. 221–248). British Columbia: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
- Clark, N. (2012). From rites to resiliency: Growing up strong. Rites of passages. Ottawa, ON: Vanier Institute for the Family.Google Scholar
- Crooks, C. V., Chiodo, D., Thomas, D., & Hughes, R. (2010). Strength-based programming for First Nations youth in schools: Building engagement through healthy relationships and leadership skills. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 8(2), 160–173. doi: 10.1007/s11469-009-9242-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Evans, D. (2010). Mentoring Aboriginal youth. (Master of Arts), Alberta: Athabasca Athabasca.Google Scholar
- Herrera, C., DuBois, D. L., & Grossman, J. B. (2013). The role of risk: Mentoring experiences and outcomes for youth with varying risk profiles. New York, NY: A Public/Private Ventures.Google Scholar
- Herrera, C., Sipe, L., & McClanahan, W. S. (2000). Mentoring school-age children: Relationship development in community and school-based programs. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures.Google Scholar
- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. (2009). A demographic and socioeconomic portrait of Aboriginal populations in Canada. Ottawa: Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.Google Scholar
- King, G. (2009). Urban Aboriginal children in Canada: Building a solid foundation for prosperity and change. In Aboriginal children’s health. Leaving no child behind. Canadian supplement to the state of the world’s children (pp. 37–45). Toronto, ON: Canadian UNICEF Committee.Google Scholar
- Klinck, J., Cardinal, C., Edwards, K., Gibson, N., Bisanz, J., & Da Costa, J. (2005). Mentoring programs for Aboriginal youth. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 3(2), 110–130.Google Scholar
- La Greca, A. M. (1999). Social anxiety scales for children and adolescents. Manual and instructions for SASC, SASC-R, SAS-A (adolescents) and parent versions of the scales. Miami, FL: Author.Google Scholar
- Lederer, J., Basualdo-Delmonico, A., Spencer, R., & Wasserman, R. (2009). Barriers, bumps, and bridges: How cultural differences shape the youth mentoring process over time. Paper presented at the The 137th American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
- McGuire, J. B. (1997). The reliability and validity of a questionnaire describing neighborhood characteristics relevant to families and young children living in urban areas. Journal of Community Psychology, 25(6), 551–566. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6629(199711)25:6<551:AID-JCOP5>3.0.CO;2-S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McLearn, K. T., Colasanto, D., & Schoen, C. (1998). Mentoring makes a difference: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Adults Mentoring Young People. New York, NY: The Commonwealth Fund.Google Scholar
- Meyerson, D. A. (2013). Mentoring youth with emotional and behavioral problems: A meta-analytic review. (Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)), DePaul University. Retrieved from http://via.library.depaul.edu/csh_etd/56.
- Miller, A. (2011). Best practices for formal youth mentoring. In T. D. Allen & L. T. Eby (Eds.), The Blackwell handbook of youth mentoring: A multiple perspective approach (pp. 307–324). Malden, MA: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Muthen, L. K., & Muthen, B. O. (2011). M-plus. Statistical analysis with latent variables. User’s guide. Version 6.11. Los Angeles, CA: Author.Google Scholar
- Petawabano, B., Gourdeau, E., Jourdain, F., Palliser-Tulugak, A., & Cossette, J. (1994). Mental health and Aboriginal people of Québec. Montréal: Gaëtan Morin Éditeur.Google Scholar
- Place, J. (2012). The health of Aboriginal people residing in urban areas. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Center for Aboriginal Health. University of Northern British Columbia.Google Scholar
- Richmond, C. A. M., Smith, D., & The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2012). Sense of belonging in the urban school environments of Aboriginal youth. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 3(1). doi: 10.18584/iipj.2012.3.1.1.
- Robertson, L. (2006). The residential school experience: Syndrome or historic trauma. Pimatisiwin, 4, 1–28.Google Scholar
- Sanchez, B., Colon-Torres, Y., Feuer, R., Roundfield, K. E., & Berardi, L. (2013). Race, ethnicity, and culture in mentoring relationship. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (pp. 145–159). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication.Google Scholar
- Sinclair, R., & Pooyak, S. (2007). Aboriginal mentoring in Saskatoon: A cultural perspective. Saskatoon: Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon and the Community University Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada. (2013). Aboriginal peoples in Canada: First Nations people, Metis and Inuit, National Household Survey, 2011. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
- Tannis, D. (2006). Mentoring in Saskatoon: Toward a meaningful partnership. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Community-University Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Vandenberghe, C. (2013). Mentoring: A review of the literature. Calgary, AB: Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research for Alberta’s Promise.Google Scholar
- Waddell, C., Sheppard, C., Schwartz, C., & Barican, J. (2014). Child and youth mental disorders: Prevalence and evidence-based interventions. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Simon Fraser University.Google Scholar
- Waldram, J. (1997). The Aboriginal people of Canada: colonialism and mental health. In I. Al-Issa & M. Tousignant (Eds.), Ethnicity, immigration, and psychopathology (pp. 169–187). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
- Wesley-Esquimaux, C., & Smolewski, M. (2004). Historic trauma and Aboriginal healing. Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.Google Scholar
- Wilson, J. (2010). Kinnections mentoring program for youth: Program policy and procedures template for engaging youth in mentorship. British Columbia: Ministry of Children and Family Development.Google Scholar