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Authentic Connections Groups

Authentic Connections Groups help participants develop strong, supportive relationships to increase well-being and resilience.
Resilience research has shown that authentic relationships are critical in helping people combat stresses in their lives; because of this, Authentic Connections Groups bring together individuals facing similar stressors to create close, dependable relationships with others in their everyday communities.
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What makes Authentic Connections Groups different?

Authentic Connections Groups differ from other employee and student wellness programs in the focus of the groups; rather than having participants turn inwards to “fix themselves”, the groups help participants to enhance supportive, nurturing relationships with others in their organizations and communities to foster resilience and improve well-being.

What is the evidence that AC Groups work?

Based in longstanding research on relational interventions for mothers, the AC Groups program was initially designed to reduce distress and promote well-being among women in high-stress life settings.  It was first tested at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona as a means of reducing burnout among physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, all of whom are mothers.  
Impacted Outcomes: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial
Compared with women in a control group, participant mothers in the AC Groups program showed statistically greater improvements across multiple aspects of well-being, including 
  • Reductions in the biological stress hormone cortisol
  • Reductions in levels of professional burnout, stress, depression, anxiety
  • Increases in perceived support from others and self compassion 
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Importantly, the relative gains shown by AC Groups mothers were still further improved when they were reassessed three months later in follow up assessments
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Findings from a Randomized Clinical Trial

Since its inception, the AC Groups have been run with women in several other high-stress professional and educational settings.
Across multiple settings, when participants were asked about likelihood of referring others like them to AC Groups, average ratings were 9.8 of 10.

Testimonials From AC Groups Participants

"It is extremely helpful to express our shared concerns and receive the positive feedback and understanding that only other career driven mothers could provide." - A Mayo Health Care Provider Attending AC Groups at Work
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A Mayo Health Care Provider Attending AC Groups at Work

"Connecting with other mothers, who share the same concerns for our children’s well-being and work-life balance stressors, has been very comforting. It is extremely helpful to express our shared concerns and receive the positive feedback and understanding that only other career driven mothers could provide. I do not think that I could get this type of specialized support in any other type of “mom’s group” because these women completely share in my experience, whereas another support group of this type may consist of mothers who work in the home or in other fields."
“I liked the focus of the group – that it was just women in STEM fields, because we all had some common ground, and experiences similar pressures and stressors.” - A University Student Attending AC Groups for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
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A University Student Attending AC Groups for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

“I liked the focus of the group – that it was just women in STEM fields, because we all had some common ground, and experiences similar pressures and stressors. I appreciated hearing others open up about their struggles – it was especially enlightening to know that everyone deals with anxiety in forming/maintaining friendships and everyone feels a little lonely sometimes. I really enjoyed our conversations on that topic, as well as just the struggles in grad school, and the ways that others have learned to deal with them."
“The value of these groups is that you actively recognize that you must nurture yourself first and that these groups compel you to move in that direction by gently holding you accountable while being supportive.” - A Participant from the AC Group for Mothers of Military Personnel