Source: Pathways to Education
Summary: This study examines the associations between mentoring status and mental health challenges of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth. It suggests that mentoring can positively impact the mental health of Aboriginal youth.
Formal youth mentoring programs have a positive impact on young people’s well-being. However, little is known about their impact on Aboriginal youth.
Using data from a Canada-wide survey of Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring programs, this study compares Aboriginal (i.e. First Nations, Inuit, or Métis) youth with non-Aboriginal youth before being matched with a mentor, and 18 months later. The objectives of this study were to assess: a) the mentoring relationship experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, and b) the impact of mentoring on the behavioural, psychological, and social functioning of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth.
Results show that mentored Aboriginal youth reported fewer emotional problems and less social anxiety relative to non-mentored Aboriginal youth. These effects were not found among non-Aboriginal youth. This study offers insights for youth mentoring researchers and directors of mentoring programs supporting Aboriginal youth, particularly regarding programming implications.