Authentic Connections Foundation

AC Groups

We support research-based interventions that foster resilient adaptation, maximally drawing on existing resources in people’s everyday environments — especially strong, supportive interpersonal relationships.

Exemplifying such efforts is the pilot testing of the “Authentic Connections Groups” (ACG) intervention to reduce burnout among medical care professionals — physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners — who are mothers. In general, these professionals are at high risk for burnout, with risks more pronounced among women than men and still more so among mothers (who are typically primary caregivers of their children). With constant levels of stress, these women are at risk for both mental health and physical health problems. In turn, compromised personal well-being adversely affects the quality of care provided to children, and to attenuated well-being and functioning in the workplace.

Conducted at the Mayo Clinic, AZ, aims of this project were to test the manualized, three-month, relational ACG intervention. Mothers were randomly assigned either to the weekly one-hour group sessions (protected time for these was assured by Mayo administration) or to the comparison group (one hour unstructured free time per week).  A total of five groups were successfully completed with no dropouts; feedback from participants was unequivocally positive.  Comparisons on psychological and physiological measures administered at baseline, post-intervention, and three months follow-up showed significantly greater improvements, over time, among ACG mothers than Controls, with benefits consistently seen across all aspects of functioning assessed.

In subsequent work, we have successfully conducted the ACG intervention with several other groups. These include military mothers, advanced doctoral students, and women in STEM disciplines; forthcoming groups include counselors and faculty at highly achieving schools.

For donations to support this school-based research and interventions, please click here.