Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 477–493 | Cite as

Building Positive Relationships: An Evaluation of Process and Outcomes in a Big Sister Program

  • Anne Westhues
  • LaFerne Clarke
  • JoAnne Watton
  • Sarah St. Claire-Smith


Research has shown that one-to-one mentoring has beneficial effects on the development of children who experience some form of disadvantage in childhood. What is not known is whether a nonintensive group program, in conjunction with one-to-one mentoring, will have even greater benefits for children. This study assesses the effects of a group program called Building Positive Relationships which was offered to 31 Little Sisters in grades three to final year of high school. A wait list comparison group of 21 Little Sisters who were in a one-to-one mentoring relationship and expressed interest in the program was part of the design. Outcomes measured included levels of self-esteem, empathy, family and peer relationships, problem-solving skills, and self-advocacy skills. The findings showed that significant changes occurred in level of self-esteem which were maintained at followup.

mentoring group programs self-esteem Big Sister program 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Westhues
    • 1
  • LaFerne Clarke
    • 2
  • JoAnne Watton
    • 3
  • Sarah St. Claire-Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Big Sisters of Kitchener-Waterloo and AreaCanada
  3. 3.Home Care Nova ScotiaCanada

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