Date of Award:

2001

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Kathleen W. Piercy

Abstract

This study examined the effects of the Youth and Families with Promise mentoring program on family relationships; specifically, whether aspects of the youth's relationship with parents and siblings changed while he/she was involved in the mentoring program, and whether parent functioning and behavior became more effective and positive. Family systems theory and the social systems model of family stress provided the theoretical frameworks for the analysis.

Several aspects of the mentoring relationship were examined to understand their impact on family outcomes. These factors included the intensity of the mentoring experience, family involvement in program activities, and the unique aspects of the Youth and Families with Promise mentoring program.

Qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were utilized to provide a more complete picture of the program outcomes. Survey data were collected from parents, youth, and mentors approximately eight months after youth were enrolled in the program. Qualitative data were collected through focus group interviews with parents, mentors, and grandmentors to identify specific changes observed in the youth. Additional data were collected through individual youth telephone interviews to understand how the youth perceived the program and its beneficial components.

Data were analyzed using paired t-tests and a content analysis of the qualitative data. Comparisons were also made between youth actively involved in the program with an assigned mentor and youth who were enrolled but had little contact with their mentor or program activities.

Analyses showed that participation in this program had a positive impact on parent-child relationships, parent functioning, and sibling relationships for approximately one third of the youth and their families. This study suggests that the benefits of mentoring programs may extend beyond the mentored youth into the family system. To fully understand the impact of a mentoring program, these changes must be evaluated.

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