Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 23–42

The Natural Mentors of Adolescent Children of Alcoholics (COAs): Implications for Preventive Practices


  • Timothy A. Cavell
    • Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University
  • Barbara T. Meehan
    • Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University
  • Robert W. Heffer
    • Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University
  • Janice J. Holladay
    • Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1016587115454

Cite this article as:
Cavell, T.A., Meehan, B.T., Heffer, R.W. et al. The Journal of Primary Prevention (2002) 23: 23. doi:10.1023/A:1016587115454


Late adolescent children of alcoholics (COAs) were interviewed about their relationship with a natural mentor. Comparisons in social and emotional functioning were made to a matched sample of COAs who did not have a natural mentor. Results showed that a typical mentor was a same-sex relative who had been responsible for initiating the mentor-like relationship. Mentors' familiarity with adolescents' parents predicted the quality of the mentoring relationships. Differences in the reported adjustment of COAs with and without natural mentors are considered in light of prevention programming and its evaluation.

mentoradolescencechildren of alcoholics (COAs)
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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002