Characteristics of Natural Mentoring Relationships From the Perspectives of Homeless Youth
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing
Volume 26, Issue 4, pages 246–253, November 2013
How to Cite
Dang, M. T. and Miller, E. (2013), Characteristics of Natural Mentoring Relationships From the Perspectives of Homeless Youth. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 26: 246–253. doi: 10.1111/jcap.12038
- Issue published online: 4 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2013
- NIH/NICHD. Grant Number: 2G11HD043594-07
- University of California Davis Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship
- California State University Sacramento Faculty Development Grant
- Homeless youth;
- natural mentor;
- social support
Homeless youth experience high risks for poor mental health outcomes. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the characteristics of natural mentoring relationships among homeless youth and to identify possible mechanisms that can enhance social support for this population.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 homeless youth aged 14–21 who had natural mentors. The interviews focused on how youth met their natural mentors, the function of these relationships, and how natural mentoring relationships differed from other relationships in the youth's social networks.
Main themes that emerged from the interviews included parental absence, natural mentors as surrogate parents, and social support from mentors.
Findings suggest that social supports provided by mentors enhance youth's adaptive functioning and may promote resilience, thus the use of natural mentors may be an important untapped asset in designing interventions to improve outcomes for homeless youth.