Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mary Peterson, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, PhD

Third Advisor

Glena Andrews, PhD


Mothers with children represent a growing segment of the homeless population. The American Psychological Association (APA) responded to the problem by initiating a task force in 2009 calling psychologists to step forward and enhance the treatment and services available for this population. However, providing treatment is often a challenge for this population because of the power differential and other barriers that negatively impact the potential relationship between mental health providers and the person living in homelessness (Hoffman & Coffey, 2008). The use of a peer mentor to mitigate the risk factors for a specific population has been an effective intervention used by multiple support and advocacy groups (e.g. NAMI, AA). Building on research supporting the effectiveness of a peer-mentoring model, this study explored the impact of a mentoring program on the self-efficacy, self-esteem and self-perception of overall functioning for mothers experiencing homelessness. Using a repeated measures ANOVA design, this study compared the effectiveness of two mentoring approaches. One group of mentors were trained to incorporate a structured, brief intervention model (5A’s) into the meetings with their mentees versus a group of mentors using an unstructured approach for mentee meetings. Results showed that a four-session peer mentoring program significantly improved perceived overall functioning for both groups of mentees. However, the study did not find a statistical differences between the structured versus unstructured groups. Discussion and implications for future studies are included.