Formal Female Mentoring Relationship as Health Promotion
Sammanfattning: The transition from adolescence to adulthood can bring with it mental health problems, resulting in reduced mental well-being among young women and an increasing public health issue. Perceived mental health problems can be a major obstacle to personal development and opportunities for becoming established in society. Thus, promotive interventions are needed.The overall aim of this thesis was to explore women’s experience of mentoring relationships as health promotion from the perspectives of both parties in the dyad: the young woman transitioning from adolescence to adulthood (the protégé), and her ten-year-older female mentor.This thesis used a practice-based approach to investigate a group of participants involved in a Swedish non-governmental organization, the Girls Zone. Data collection was conducted including interviews (n = 5) and surveys (n = 52) with female protégés, and interviews with female mentors (n = 12). Study I explored the characteristics of the female protégés and the development of the mentoring relationship, and used mixed methods. Study II, which investigated mentors’ initial motives and the organizational context which enabled the mentors’ engagement, used an explorative qualitative method.This thesis showed that female mentoring relationships seem to have potential to be a health-promoting intervention. A variety of young women were attracted to the mentoring program, and mentorships in line with the perspectives of relational-cultural theory could meet the relationship needs expressed by the female protégés. Further, mentors’ motivations for engaging as mentors were linked to the fulfillment of basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, in accordance with the perspective of self-determination theory.
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