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Enabling relationship formation, development, and closure in a one-year female mentoring program at a non-governmental organization: a mixed-method study
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (Med kraft och vilja - Forskning om idéburna organisationers ANDT-förebyggande arbete)
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (Med kraft och vilja - Forskning om idéburna organisationers ANDT-förebyggande arbete)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6633-1636
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7456-2397
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (Med kraft och vilja - Forskning om idéburna organisationers ANDT-förebyggande arbete)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0185-0851
2016 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 16, no 1, 179Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Mental health problems among young women aged 16-24 have increased significantly in recent decades, and interventions are called for. Mentoring is a well-established preventative/promotive intervention for developing adolescents, but we have yet to fully understand how the relationship between the mentor and the protégé forms, develops, and closes. In this study, we focused on a female mentoring program implemented by a Swedish non-governmental organization, The Girls Zone. First, we examined the psychological and social characteristics of the young women who chose to take part in the program as protégés. Second, we investigated adolescent female protégés’ own experiences of the relationship process based on a relational-cultural theory perspective.

Methods: The mixed-method study included 52 questionnaires and five semi-structured interviews with young women aged 15–26 who had contacted The Girls Zone between 2010 and 2012 in order to find a mentor. Their experience of the mentoring relationships varied in duration. Data were analysed statistically and with inductive qualitative content analysis.

Results: The group of protégés was heterogeneous in that some had poor mental health and some had good mental health. On the other hand, the group was homogenous in that all its members had shown pro-active self-care by actively seeking out the program due to experiences of loneliness and a need to meet and talk with a person who could listen to them. The relationships were initially characterized by feelings of nervousness and ambivalence. However, after some time, these developed into authentic, undemanding, non-hierarchical relationships on the protégés’ terms. The closure of relationships aroused feelings of both abandonment and developing strength.

Conclusions: Mentorships that are in line with perspectives of the relational-cultural theory meet the relationship needs expressed by the female protégés. Mentor training should focus on promoting skills such as active listening and respect for the protégé based on an engaged, empathic, and authentic approach in a non-hierarchical relationship. These insights have the potential to inform interventions in several arenas where young women create authentic relationships with older persons, such as in school, in traditional health care contexts, and in youth recreation centres. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, United Kingdom: BioMed Central, 2016. Vol. 16, no 1, 179
Keyword [en]
Mixed methods, Mentoring, Gender, Intervention, Emerging adulthood, Young women, Prevention, NGO, Relationship process, Sweden
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-48134DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-2850-2ISI: 000370666500001PubMedID: 26905222Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84958967859OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-48134DiVA: diva2:901861
Projects
Genusinriktad ANDT prevention - Förebyggande och främjande verksamhet för unga tjejer
Funder
Public Health Agency of Sweden
Available from: 2016-02-09 Created: 2016-02-09 Last updated: 2017-03-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Formal Female Mentoring Relationship as Health Promotion
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Formal Female Mentoring Relationship as Health Promotion
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The transition from adolescence to adulthood can bring with it mental health problems, resulting in reduced mental well-being among young women and an increasing public health issue. Perceived mental health problems can be a major obstacle to personal development and opportunities for becoming established in society. Thus, promotive interventions are needed.

The overall aim of this thesis was to explore women’s experience of mentoring relationships as health promotion from the perspectives of both parties in the dyad: the young woman transitioning from adolescence to adulthood (the protégé), and her ten-year-older female mentor.

This thesis used a practice-based approach to investigate a group of participants involved in a Swedish non-governmental organization, the Girls Zone. Data collection was conducted including interviews (n = 5) and surveys (n = 52) with female protégés, and interviews with female mentors (n = 12). Study I explored the characteristics of the female protégés and the development of the mentoring relationship, and used mixed methods. Study II, which investigated mentors’ initial motives and the organizational context which enabled the mentors’ engagement, used an explorative qualitative method.

This thesis showed that female mentoring relationships seem to have potential to be a health-promoting intervention. A variety of young women were attracted to the mentoring program, and mentorships in line with the perspectives of relational-cultural theory could meet the relationship needs expressed by the female protégés. Further, mentors’ motivations for engaging as mentors were linked to the fulfillment of basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, in accordance with the perspective of self-determination theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2016
Series
Örebro Studies in Care Sciences, ISSN 1652-1153 ; 67
Keyword
Health Promotion, formal mentoring, intervention, young women, female mentors, motivation, organizational context, non-governmental organization, relational-cultural theory, seöf-determination theory
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-55263 (URN)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Public Health Agency of Sweden
Available from: 2017-03-09 Created: 2017-02-02 Last updated: 2017-03-09Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, MadelenePettersson, CamillaSkoog, TheréseEriksson, Charli
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