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The Perceived Impact of a Mentoring Program for Youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Spaans, Rianne E.
Supervisor and department
Pei, Jacqueline (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Rasmussen, Carmen (Pediatrics)
Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Psychological Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Education
Degree level
Prenatal alcohol exposure can result in the disability called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the deficits most often associated with this are said to last a lifetime. In addition to the deficits directly resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure, individuals with FASD often also face adverse life outcomes including mental health difficulties. Researchers have shown that these difficulties can commence or increase in severity throughout adolescence underscoring the importance of intervention during this developmental period. One approach to intervention with adolescents is mentoring, however, although implemented in the community there is as of yet no evidence to support this approach in work with youth with FASD. The purpose of this current study was to examine the perceived impact of a mentoring program on the mental health functioning of youth with FASD according to adolescents as well as their caregivers. BASC-2 data from fifteen adolescents and nine caregivers was used in order to determine the preliminary impact of the program. Even though no significant results were found a positive trend towards improvement was established. Both caregivers as well as adolescents indicated improvements across several aspects of mental health functioning including sense of inadequacy, hyperactivity, aggression, attention problems, depression, sensation seeking, atypicality, etc. Caregivers, in general, rated the youth's mental health functioning as more problematic than the adolescents themselves, which could potentially indicate that the adolescents underreported their mental health difficulties. Overall, these findings indicated that the program may be having a stabilizing effect on the mental health difficulties faced by adolescents with FASD.
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