, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 211-227

Natural mentor relationships among latina adolescent mothers: Psychological adjustment, moderating processes, and the role of early parental acceptance

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Investigated the antecedents, effects, and underlying characteristics of natural mentor relationships in a sample of 54 inner-city, Latina adolescent mothers. Women with mentors reported significantly lower levels of depression and anxiety than those without mentors despite similar levels of stress exposure and overall support resources. Young women with natural mentors were also more satisfied with their support resources and appeared better able to cope effectively with relationship problems. Finally, women with mentors recalled their childhood relationships with their mothers as more accepting. Mentor relationships appear to enhance young women's capacity to benefit from their support resources and offset the effects of relationship problems. Implications for future research and intervention strategies are discussed.

This study was conducted while Josefina Contreras was supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development which was awarded to the Psychology Department of the University of Illinois. Assistance was also provided by grants from the W. T. Grant Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Office of Research on Women's Health to Jean Rhodes, and the University of Illinois Research Board to Sarah Mangelsdorf. We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Fabricio Balkazar, James Kelly, Joseph McGrath, Adena Meyers, the staff and participants at the service settings, and the anonymous reviewers.