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FriendMUM: Mothers' intercultural friendships´s Profile image

FriendMUM: Mothers' intercultural friendships

01.08.2023 - 31.07.2027
Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies

The central aim of the FriendMUM project is to gain knowledge on how intercultural friendships develop and how such friendships can be supported.


The project focuses on the intercultural friendships between mothers with immigrant background and with Finnish background from the perspective of both parties. Positive and close friendships support the wellbeing of the individual, and these relationships are often highly valued. However, motherhood as a life period may entail changes to social relations, such as being estranged from previous social networks. Friendships between mothers can offer psychosocial resources which can promote wellbeing of mothers and their families. Mothers’ outgroup contacts and attitudes influence their children’s attitudes as well. Thus, mothers’ intercultural friendships can have a significant impact on the next generation.


This social psychological research project aims to offer new insights on how intercultural contact develops into friendship in optimal conditions over the course of time. The development of intercultural friendships is analyzed in “Friend for an Immigrant Mum” program organized by Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected. In the qualitative study, the development of the relationship between the two mothers paired up with each other in the program is followed for approximately 1,5 years. The data collection of the qualitative study will begin in late 2023–early 2024. In the quantitative study, the development of the relationships of the new mother-pairs starting in the “Friend for an Immigrant Mum” program will be followed for half a year through online questionnaire. The data collection for the quantitative study will begin in 2025.

Funding and cooperation

FriendMUM-project is funded by Alli Paasikivi foundation and Kone Foundation. FriendMUM is a cooperative project coordinated by University of Eastern Finland and conducted in cooperation with University of Johannesburg (South Africa), Nottingham Trent University (United Kingdom) and Mannerheim League for Child Welfare Southern, Lake Finland, Kainuu and Northern Ostrobothnia and Tampere Districts. The research project is led by Eerika Finell, Professor of Social Psychology (UEF). Other cooperative partners are City of Helsinki, The Family Federation of Finland and Tampere Centre for Childhood, Youth and Family Research PERLA.