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The quantity, quality and characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian mentoring literature: A systematic review

journal contribution
posted on 30.08.2018, 00:00 by Roxanne BainbridgeRoxanne Bainbridge, K Tsey, Janya MccalmanJanya Mccalman, S Towle
© 2014 Bainbridge et al.; licensee BioMed Central.Background: Mentoring is a key predictor of empowerment and prospectively a game changer in the quest to improve health inequities. This systematic review reports on the state of evidence on mentoring for Indigenous Australians by identifying the quantity, nature, quality and characteristics of mentoring publications. Methods: Thirteen databases were searched using specific search strings from 1983-2012. Grey literature was also canvassed.The resultant publications were mined to identify their outputs, nature, and quality. These were then conceptually mined for their characteristics to develop a model of mentoring that included the initiating environments, facilitating environments, operational strategies and outcomes. Results: 771 citations were identified; 37 full text publications met inclusion criteria and were assessed. Fifteen were eligible for review. Four of five original research publications used strong qualitative research designs. No publications were found before 1999; the largest proportion concentrated in 2011 (n = 4). Facilitating environments included: mapping participants' socio-cultural and economic context; formal mentoring practices with internal flexibility; voluntary participation; integrated models with wrap-around services; mentor/staff competencies; and sustained funding. Mentoring strategies comprised: holistic scaffolding approaches; respectful, trusting, one-on-one mentoring relationships; knowledgeable mentors; regular contact; longer-term relationships and exit strategies; culturally-tailored programs; personal and social development opportunities; and specialised skills and learning opportunities. Outcomes varied in accordance to program aims and included improvements in aspects of education and employment, offending behaviours, relationships, and personal, social and professional development. Conclusion: Little research explored the effectiveness of mentoring, captured its impact qualitatively or quantitatively, developed appropriate measures or assessed its cost-effectiveness. There is a real need to evaluate programs particularly in terms of outcomes and, given there were no economic evaluations, costs. Commitments to improving Indigenous Australian mentoring rely on changes to funding structures and attitudes toward research. There was insufficient evidence to confidently prescribe a best practice model. Sufficient frequency of qualitative reporting between publications concluded that mentoring is a valuable empowerment strategy in the areas of health and wellbeing, education and employment and as a remedial and preventative measure in reducing offending behaviours. An evidence-informed mentoring model would take into account the key findings of the review.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

14

Issue

1

Start Page

1

End Page

25

Number of Pages

25

eISSN

1471-2458

Publisher

BioMed Central

Additional Rights

CC BY 2.0

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

Yes

Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

External Author Affiliations

James Cook University; Gunggandji Aboriginal Corporation

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

BMC Public Health