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Insights Insights
| 1 minute read

Strong Mentoring Relationships May Support Resilience After Childhood Trauma

A recent study has found a strong correlation between positive adult-child relationships and good mental health outcomes in young adulthood. The study followed more than 2000 young individuals for more than 15 years, examining their perceptions of family and mentor relationships, self-reported stress levels, and diagnosed depression and anxiety.

The findings were quite remarkable. Young people who reported having at least one strong adult relationship had a significantly lower likelihood of experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression later in life. This reinforces the importance of nurturing and fostering positive connections between adults and children.

Surprisingly, the study also uncovered an unexpected correlation. Higher family religiosity was associated with increased perceived stress levels when individuals had experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). However, it is important to note that this study is the first to report such a correlation, and further research is needed to fully understand its implications.

Previous studies have consistently highlighted the positive impact of strong mentoring relationships on children's emotional and psychological development. This latest study serves as a valuable reminder to youth organizations and caregivers that fostering such relationships should be a priority.

Concerns about grooming and boundary violations naturally arise when discussing close adult-child relationships. Prohibiting mentoring and depriving children of these valuable connections is not the solution to mentoring concerns. Instead, we should focus on watching for characteristics unique to grooming — isolation, favoritism, and boundary violations — to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

This recent study reinforces the importance of positive adult-child relationships in promoting mental health outcomes in young adulthood. It highlights the need for youth organizations to encourage both family and mentoring relationships, while also being vigilant about protecting children from potential harm. 

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This cohort study found that positive adult-child relationships were associated with a lower odds of later young adulthood depression and anxiety disorders regardless of exposure to ACEs. Higher family religiosity, unexpectedly, was associated with more perceived stress when ACEs were high.


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