CitationChristensen, Kirsten M. & Poon, Cyanea Y. S. (2021). Exploring Friend’s Parents and Family Friends as Natural Mentors for Youth: Contexts, Motivation, and Barriers. Journal of Child and Family Studies.
AbstractNatural mentors are important developmental assets for youth. To understand the nature and influence of natural mentors, scholars have often adopted Granovetter’s (1973) model, where “strong ties” refer to individuals in one’s close social network and “weak ties” refer to a broader network of heterogeneous relationships with nonfamilial others. This dichotomy can obscure the role of certain mentors like family friends and friend’s parents, who may transverse these categories. We used a multi-informant approach, drawing on mentee and mentor data from two nationally representative studies, to explore family friends and friend’s parents as a unique type of natural mentor. Study 1 (n = 3,133) uses Add Health data to explore the sociodemographic predictors of these mentors, whereas Study 2 (n = 343) uses the Power of Relationships Study to examine contexts, motivations, and perceived barriers associated with this previously understudied group of mentors. Results revealed significant sociodemographic predictors of having a friend’s parent or family friend mentor. In addition, results suggest that these ties engage in mentoring in youth-accessible contexts, often mentor as a result of a request from a youth’s parent, and that they may be less likely to perceive certain barriers to mentoring youth. Implications about the role of this specific type of natural mentor are discussed.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJournal of Child and Family Studies
Author(s)Christensen, Kirsten M.
Poon, Cyanea Y. S.