'He told me to calm down and all that': a qualitative study of forms of social support in youth mentoring relationships
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Brady, B., Dolan, P., and Canavan, J. (2017) ‘He told me to calm down and all that’: a qualitative study of forms of social support in youth mentoring relationships. Child & Family Social Work, 22: 266–274. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12235.
The worldwide growth in formal youth mentoring programmes over the past two decades is partly a response to the perception that young people facing adversity do not have access to supportive relationships with adults and positive role models in their communities to the degree they once had. Formal mentoring programmes facilitate the development of a friendship or match' between an older volunteer and a young person, with the objective of supporting the young persons' personal and social development. Drawing on 66 semi-structured interviews with young people, parents, mentors and caseworkers associated with nine youth mentoring matches in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Programme in Ireland, this paper analyses the forms of social support evident in the mentor-mentee relationships and highlights how the mentoring relationship was perceived to have impacted on the well-being of the young people participating. The findings reflect the consensus in the mentoring literature that close, well-established mentoring relationships have the potential to bring about meaningful change in the lives of young people.