Largest ever Canadian mentoring study will help create a
best practices roadmap
January 15, 2013
–The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Big Brothers Big
Sisters Canada (BBBSC) are releasing the first results of one of the largest
mentoring studies ever conducted, as BBBSC celebrates its 100 year anniversary.
five-year study, which tracks the experiences of almost 1,000 children and
teenagers registered with Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across Canada, found
that those with a mentor are significantly more confident in their academic
abilities and considerably less likely to display behavioural problems.
stand out finding is that girls in the study with a Big Sister were four times
less likely to bully, fight, lie or express anger than girls without a mentor.
ground-breaking research confirms that mentoring changes the trajectory of
young lives,” says Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Canada (BBBSC). “The findings will have a profoundly beneficial
impact on our mentoring programs.”
study was conducted by a team of academics led by Dr.
David DeWit, a senior
research scientist CAMH in London, Ontario, and Dr. Ellen Lipman, a psychiatrist and
Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.
The research was made possible by a $1.7 million grant from the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
study’s findings are expected to bring about significant advances in how the
agencies of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) deliver mentoring
services. Expected outcomes are more specialized pre-match training for the
child, parents and mentor; more effective match support for all three
participants to better manage expectations and earlier detection of special
needs among children and teenagers.
believes that this landmark study’s legacy will be longer and more successful
matches and mentoring that is more closely tailored to individual needs.
showed that the positive findings held regardless of the children’s age,
personal history, family circumstances or cultural identity,” explained Dr. DeWit.
“Over time, Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies will be able to counsel mentors
on how best to engage with their ‘Little’ and will make it easier to identify
the children most likely to benefit from having a mentor.”
- Girls with a Big Sister are two and a half times more
likely than girls without a mentor to be confident in their ability to be
successful at school.
- Boys with a Big Brother are three times less likely
than boys without a mentor to suffer peer pressure related anxiety, such as worrying
about what other children think or say about them.
- Mentored boys are two times more likely to believe
that school is fun and that doing well academically is important.
- Mentored boys are also two times less likely than
non-mentored boys to develop negative conducts like bullying, fighting, lying,
cheating, losing their temper or expressing anger.
current findings are just a small sample of what will be released in the months
and years to come. Each new release of findings will further illuminate the
extent to which mentored children do better; why mentored children do better
and Big Brothers Big Sisters agency practices that lead to the most successful mentoring
time, Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies will actually be able to counsel
mentors on how best to engage with their “Little” based on their, age, personal
history, family circumstances and cultural identity. During the pre-match
screening process, the study’s conclusions are also expected to make it easier
to identify the children most likely to benefit from having a mentor.
the findings of this research are fully understood, we expect that virtually every
aspect of how we approach, design and maintain our mentoring relationships will
be impacted,” says MacDonald. “The work of the project’s outstanding team, so
ably led by Dr. DeWit and Dr. Lipman, will benefit children and teenagers in
every region of Canada
“We recognize that the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada has
played a crucial role in the lives of many young Canadians,” says Dr. Anthony
Phillips, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental
Health and Addiction. “CIHR is pleased to support research that provides
communities with information about youth mental health and healthy development
Read more in the study backgrounder
For more information or to schedule an interview contact: Michael
Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015 or email@example.com
About the Centre for Addiction and
for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and
addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research
centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy
development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected
by mental health and addiction issues.
fully affiliated with the University
of Toronto, and is a Pan
American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.
For more information, please visit www.camh.ca
Big Sisters of Canada
For one hundred years,
Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of Canada’s
youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs. BBBSC
volunteer mentors teach by example the importance of giving back, of staying in
school, and of respecting family, peers and community.
provides quality mentoring services for more than 33,000 children and
teenagers. The community-based youth mentoring organization currently has over
25,000 volunteer mentors working at 123 agencies that serve children in over
1,000 communities across the country. Learn more. Visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.
About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health
research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific
knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective
health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system.
Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than
14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.