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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199869 Find in a Library
Title: Natural Mentors in the Lives of African-American Adolescent Mothers: Tracking Relationships Over Time
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:32  Issue:3  Dated:June 2003  Pages:223-232
Author(s): Elena L. Klaw; Jean E. Rhodes; Louise F. Fitzgerald
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This study focused on the academic achievement of African-American adolescents in transition from pregnancy or recent delivery to 2 years postpartum, with attention to the role of natural mentors.
Abstract: Natural mentoring relationships typically arise within adolescents' social networks and are characterized by bonds between an older, more experienced adult and a younger protege. The adult typically provides ongoing guidance, instruction, and encouragement, facilitating the protege's transition into adulthood. The current study examined the influence of natural mentors in the lives, specifically the academic achievement, of adolescent African-American mothers. All of the adolescent mothers (n=198) were unmarried, and 64 percent were receiving public assistance benefits; 5 percent had 2 or more children. Eighty-four percent of the participants lived with their mothers or mother figures without the fathers. A set of fixed-format questions was used to obtain information on the participants' ages, marital status, number of children, and living arrangements. The Social Support Network Questionnaire was used to assess social support and social strain, and school records were used to assess each participant's school enrollment status subsequent to leaving the alternative school and highest grade levels attained. The study focused on the duration, characteristics, and effects of relationships that endured over 2 years postpartum, along with the role of adolescent's mentor versus maternal support. Compared to participants who did not identify mentors at either time point, participants whose mentor relationships endured over the course of the 2 year study were more likely to have remained in school or graduated. Subsequent analyses showed that long-term mentor relationships were characterized by weekly and, in many instances, daily interactions. Additionally, participants in long-term mentor relationships reported deriving more emotional support from their mentors than from their mothers, were more satisfied with mentor support, and indicated that this support was more important to them than maternal support. 4 tables and 62 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): Adolescent females; Adolescent parents; Adolescent pregnancy; Adolescents at risk; Juvenile delinquency factors; Mentoring programs; School maladjustment; Social conditions
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