Children's Mentors - A Resarch Project about Friendships

Children's Mentors

Can boys’ well-being and school engagement be increased and their risk behavior reduced, if they are given a male grown-up as a friend? In a pilot project, a research design is devised in cooperation with Børns Voksenvenner (Children's Mentors) to evaluate the effects of such an arrangement

Time period:

2015 – 2021 (pilot project in 2015 – 2018).

Target group:

Mainly boys aged 6 to 12 years old, who have a limited social network and therefore are expected to benefit from having a male grown-up as a friend.

Number of participants:

It is expected that approximately 400 boys will be participating in the evaluation.


The boys in the project are given a male grown-up as a friend. This is organized by Børns Voksenvenner that recruits the grown-ups and trains them to have a social interaction with the children. The participating grown-ups are urged to maintain the friendship in more than a year and to have between two and four visits a month.

The grown-up and the child decide which activities they want to do together. The activities can be anything from walking in the woods, cooking food, taking a visit to the cinema, fishing- to playing games, drawing, reading or just chatting.


In the pilot project, a design for the evaluation of the effects of having a male grown-up as a friend are developed in cooperation with Børns Voksenvenner. The project is expected to use both qualitative and quantitative measurement tools. In the qualitative analysis, a small number of the boys, their mothers, their friends, and their school teachers are interviewed, and the boys are furthermore participating in focus group interviews. The subjects will be concerning the boys’ social and psychological health, their gender and ethnic identity, and their sociocultural capital.

In the quantitative analysis, data about the boys and questionnaires are used, and the focus here is whether it has an effect to have a male adult as a friend on the child’s well-being, school absenteeism, risk behavior, pastimes and performances in The Danish National Tests in the school subjects Danish and Math.


Børns Voksenvenner (voluntary organization), The Danish Crime Prevention Council, TrygFonden and The The Danish Council for Independent Research.    


Results from the pilot project are expected in 2017.


No publications yet.


About Børns Voksenvenner (in Danish).

About the international network Big Brothers Big Sisters International that are working with similar concepts.