The Impact of a Mentoring Intervention on the Substance Use and Aggression of Homeless Young Adults
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Youth homelessness is a growing problem in the United States. Among the many challenges they face, homeless youth experience higher rates of substance use and aggression than the general population. While many studies have found that mentoring has a positive impact in reducing substance use and aggression, there has not been extensive investigation into the nexus of homeless youth and mentoring. This study examined the impact of a mentoring intervention upon the substance use and aggression of a homeless youth population residing in a transitional living program. The study consisted of an intervention group of 127 youth who elected to receive a mentoring intervention and a non-intervention group of 273 youth who declined mentoring services. Baseline measures were culled from intake forms and follow up data was gleaned from three month follow up treatment plans. The study utilized logistic regressions and chi-square tests to analyze the data. The tests failed to find a statistically significant correlation between mentoring and cessation of substance use and between mentoring and cessation of aggression. The failure to find correlation is neither an indictment of mentoring nor evidence against the potential efficacy of mentoring for this population. Rather, the lack of findings is most readily explained by the limitations of the study which include measuring the intervention after only three months and only measuring cessation of problematic behaviors instead of levels of improvement.
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