Master of Arts
This study was intended to determine the motives of caregivers of children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) who accessed caregiver to caregiver mentors. Caregiver to caregiver mentorship is the term used in our study to describe the relationship, and this is the same as the term peer to peer mentorship which is often used as a broader description of the relationship in prior literature. Sixteen mentees engaged with caregiver to caregiver mentors who had lived experience in raising an individual with FASD and participated in telephone interviews to answer the question: “Why do you want to have a peer to peer mentor?” Participant responses were examined using a qualitative content analysis from which seven themes were derived. Mentees hoped that a caregiver to caregiver mentor would have comparable life experiences. According to mentees, a caregiver to caregiver mentor should also provide information and referral to resources. The gathered data also suggested mentees were in search of a mentor who displayed positive characteristics. The receipt of social and emotional support was expected by mentees who were navigating difficult emotions as well as a lack of assistance from family and friends. It was also clear that mentees’ needed clarity regarding FASD symptoms as well as comorbid diagnoses from caregiver to caregiver mentors. Characteristics demonstrated by mentees also led them to desire caregiver to caregiver mentorship due to their specific circumstances, traits, previous experiences, and referrals. Within the seventh theme, mentees were interested in gaining assistance with school and learning challenges including difficulties with teachers and the school system as well as cognitive issues. These themes were compared and contrasted with published research.
Summary for Lay Audience
This qualitative study explored motives of caregivers for children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) who connected with caregiver to caregiver mentors. In this study, we use caregiver to caregiver mentorship to describe the relationship of focus, which is the same as the term peer to peer mentorship widely used in literature. Sixteen mentees who were in connection with caregiver to caregiver mentors who had experience caregiving for children and youth with FASD answered the question: “Why do you want to have a peer to peer mentor?” Seven themes about why mentees accessed caregiver to caregiver mentors emerged based on mentee interview responses. Themes included: (1) wanting to connect with someone with similar life experiences, (2) receiving information and referral to resources, (3) connecting with a mentor with positive characteristics, (4) obtaining social and emotional support, (5) gaining a clear picture of FASD symptoms and similar diagnoses, (6) mentee characteristics that made mentorship appealing including circumstances, traits, past experiences, and referral to the caregiver to caregiver mentorship program, and (7) help with school and learning challenges their child was facing. Discussion then centers around how these findings contribute to relevant fields of research as well as policy and counselling.
Blake, Jocelyn J., "Motives for Caregivers of Children with FASD Who Connect with a Caregiver to Caregiver Mentor" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8417.
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