, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 271-288

Mentoring College-Age Women: A Relational Approach

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Abstract

Despite the popularity of mentoring programs, the relational dimension of mentoring has not been elucidated. Traditional conceptions of mentoring may exclude factors that are particularly important for women and girls, thus limiting the efficacy of mentoring programs for female adolescents. We suggest that the presence of relational qualities in the mentoring relationship (e.g., empathy, engagement, authenticity, and empowerment) strongly influences the success of mentoring in the lives of young women. In this study, we use a promising new measure of mentoring, the Relational Health Index – Mentor, to explore the impact of relational aspects of mentoring in female college students. We found that mentoring relationships high in relational qualities were associated with higher self-esteem and less loneliness.