Research Publication Title

The Impact of a Mentoring Program on Adolescent Girls’ Self-Esteem

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tsu-Ming Chiang

Keywords

Developmental, Mentoring, Self-Esteem, Identity

Abstract

Adolescents in the modern world often find themselves facing pressures and influences from family, friends and society. Influences such as advertisement and media are readily available through social media and internet. Girls are especially vulnerable to the pressure in maintaining an ideal body image due to stereotypical female images being portrait as beautiful and attractive. It often results in girl’s preoccupation with beauty and peers’ perceptions, along with other risky behaviors (Galeotti, 2015). Past research found support through a mentoring relationship can have profound impacts on adolescents social-emotional, cognitive, and identity development (Schwartz, Lowe, & Rhodes, 2012). Youth mentoring is generally defined as an informal relationship between a young person and a non-parental adult who offers some form of guidance and support (Karcher & DuBois, 2014). Longitudinal research also suggests that adolescents who report having a supportive relationship with a non-parental adult mentor indicate “greater psychological well-being, including self-esteem and life satisfaction” (Schwartz, Lowe, & Rhodes, 2012). Overall, mentoring relationships yield a positive effect on adolescents, with factors like duration and quality of the relationship playing a key role in effectiveness. While year-long mentorship produces positive effects on self-esteem, negative impacts on self-esteem have occurred when the mentoring relationship ends abruptly (Schwartz, Lowe, & Rhodes, 2012). The present study is thus designed to evaluate the perceived impact of one such mentoring program. Girls Grow is a peer-to-peer mentoring program in which college female students facilitate discussions amongst high school girls utilizing Girls Grow curriculum. The study further examines to what extent the Girls Grow program empowers girls to (a) define their values (b) cope with negative emotions (c) serve their community (d) develop positive self-esteem (e) understand the consequences of their behavior (f) develop mindfulness (e) prepare for their future (f) maintain healthy relationships. Forty-five female participants from grades nine through twelve take part in weekly meetings over a five month period at two, independent high schools in Southeast US. The relationship between individual attendance frequencies and perceived behavioral, emotional, and relational changes as a result of Girls Grow attendance are examined through correlations. We expect to find a strong positive relationship between Girls Grow attendance and the impact on various areas from Girls Grow program.

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The Impact of a Mentoring Program on Adolescent Girls’ Self-Esteem

Adolescents in the modern world often find themselves facing pressures and influences from family, friends and society. Influences such as advertisement and media are readily available through social media and internet. Girls are especially vulnerable to the pressure in maintaining an ideal body image due to stereotypical female images being portrait as beautiful and attractive. It often results in girl’s preoccupation with beauty and peers’ perceptions, along with other risky behaviors (Galeotti, 2015). Past research found support through a mentoring relationship can have profound impacts on adolescents social-emotional, cognitive, and identity development (Schwartz, Lowe, & Rhodes, 2012). Youth mentoring is generally defined as an informal relationship between a young person and a non-parental adult who offers some form of guidance and support (Karcher & DuBois, 2014). Longitudinal research also suggests that adolescents who report having a supportive relationship with a non-parental adult mentor indicate “greater psychological well-being, including self-esteem and life satisfaction” (Schwartz, Lowe, & Rhodes, 2012). Overall, mentoring relationships yield a positive effect on adolescents, with factors like duration and quality of the relationship playing a key role in effectiveness. While year-long mentorship produces positive effects on self-esteem, negative impacts on self-esteem have occurred when the mentoring relationship ends abruptly (Schwartz, Lowe, & Rhodes, 2012). The present study is thus designed to evaluate the perceived impact of one such mentoring program. Girls Grow is a peer-to-peer mentoring program in which college female students facilitate discussions amongst high school girls utilizing Girls Grow curriculum. The study further examines to what extent the Girls Grow program empowers girls to (a) define their values (b) cope with negative emotions (c) serve their community (d) develop positive self-esteem (e) understand the consequences of their behavior (f) develop mindfulness (e) prepare for their future (f) maintain healthy relationships. Forty-five female participants from grades nine through twelve take part in weekly meetings over a five month period at two, independent high schools in Southeast US. The relationship between individual attendance frequencies and perceived behavioral, emotional, and relational changes as a result of Girls Grow attendance are examined through correlations. We expect to find a strong positive relationship between Girls Grow attendance and the impact on various areas from Girls Grow program.