Web-Based Training for School-Based Mentors of Military-Connected Youth: A Multi-Phase Development Study

Renée Spencer, Grace Gowdy, Carla Herrera, Janet Heubach, Amy S. Slep, Timothy A. Cavell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes a multi-phase effort to develop a web-based training for adults serving as mentors in school-based programs for youth with a parent in the military. In Phase 1, we conducted focus groups with military parents to: gauge their receptivity to this type of supportive intervention, identify program features that would make the option of mentoring for their children more or less appealing, and identify specific training needs for adult volunteers preparing for the role of mentor to youth in this population. In Phase 2, we used an iterative process to develop the training protocol, including cycling through multiple drafts, creating a web-based platform, reviewing and incorporating feedback from various stakeholders, and then pilot testing the training with two groups of mentor volunteers as part of a school-based mentoring program for military-connected students. We report on what we learned from the military parent focus groups, including parent skepticism about the need for such a program, concerns about potential stigma, and the need for mentors to have some understanding of military culture. We describe how we used that information to develop a practical and accessible training module for volunteer mentors, especially those without a military background, who could be matched with military-connected youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-583
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Focus groups
  • Mentor training
  • Military-connected youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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