Lydia N. Murray, Kimberley E. Harris and Jason Brown
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) refers to a spectrum of neurodevelopmental conditions that significantly impact an individual’s physical appearance, learning, and behaviour. A consistent caregiver and home life are known to reduce the occurrence or severity of adverse outcomes. Peer mentors can be important sources of support to caregivers with children who have FASD. The purpose of this study was to identify the motives1 and motivations2 of peer mentors to caregivers of children and youth with FASD. Ten mentors with lived experience raising a dependent with FASD participated in in-person or telephone interviews that included the focal question: “Why do you want to be a peer mentor?” Responses were analyzed with a qualitative content analysis procedure. Four themes were generated from the responses. Mentors wanted to provide emotional support as a means of improving mentee wellbeing through therapeutic means and relationship development. They wanted to share lived experience as a means of educating mentees through the provision of personal knowledge, strategies, and skills. Mentors also chose to become involved for personal or mutual benefit, including fulfilling a call to give back or for personal growth and development. Finally, mentors participated to alter the perceptions and expectations held by mentees regarding caring for a child with FASD by sharing personal values and opinion statements. The themes were compared and contrasted with existing literature.