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Big Funding For Research Project

Burlington, ON – A new research study led by David DeWit, senior scientist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Ellen L. Lipman, Offord Centre for Child Studies will examine the relative importance of match relationship components (i.e., quality, shared activities, and contact) as determinants of positive change in the health and social functioning of Canadian children enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) adult mentoring programs. This is the first time researchers will conduct an in-depth study of involvement in BBBS match relationships on the health of Canadian children since BBBSC’s inception in 1913.

"This exciting project builds on an established collaborative relationship between BBBS and our research team. The project provides the opportunity to examine which characteristics of children, parents, mentors and agencies involved in the adult mentor match relationship, or combination of characteristics, contribute most to positive changes in social and health functioning for the mentees. This project will examine these issues in a careful and more detailed manner than has been done before." Ellen L. Lipman, M.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University

The research project entitled, A Longitudinal Analysis of the Effects of Adult Mentoring on Children’s Health and Well-being: An Examination of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Community Match Program will undertake a multi-year longitudinal investigation involving 950 families (parents and children) and adult mentors from 15 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across Canada to examine children’s involvement in structured match relationships with adult mentors as a determinant of positive change in their health and behavioural functioning.

“This study is expected to advance the field of mentoring research by identifying what it is about a child’s relationship with an adult mentor (within the context of a structured program like Big Brothers Big Sisters) that contributes to positive changes in their mental health, social relationships, and academic performance at school. It will also uncover key agency, mentor, and parent characteristics that make possible the development of mutually satisfying and long-lasting mentor/child relationships” David J. De Wit Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, London, Ontario

"This is an exciting new research opportunity that we are extremely grateful for. The results of this study will allow us to teach communities, government and corporate audiences about the profound impact mentoring has towards the healthy development of children, families and communities”, stated Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. “We see the positive results and we hear the amazing stories from children and volunteers across the country but thanks to this new research project, we will be able to share the good news with fact based support that will lend credibility to our movement.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is the leading youth mentoring organization in Canada. It is committed to serving children and youth across the country by providing them with quality one-to-one relationships with volunteer mentors. They currently have 150 agencies in over 1000 communities nation-wide and are serving more than 23,000 children. Another 10,000 children are eagerly waiting to be matched.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is one of the largest addiction and mental health organizations in North America and Canada's leading mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre, and is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. CAMH combines clinical care, research, policy, education and health promotion to improve the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

Thank you to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) from whom funding was provided to make this research study possible.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
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