Advertisement

The Effects of Youth Mentoring Programs: A Meta-analysis of Outcome Studies

  • Elizabeth B. RaposaEmail author
  • Jean Rhodes
  • Geert Jan J. M. Stams
  • Noel Card
  • Samantha Burton
  • Sarah Schwartz
  • Laura A. Yoviene Sykes
  • Stella Kanchewa
  • Janis Kupersmidt
  • Saida Hussain
Systematic Literature Review

Abstract

Mentoring programs, which pair youth with caring, non-parental adults with the goal of promoting positive youth development, are an increasingly popular strategy for early intervention with at-risk youth. However, important questions remain about the extent to which these interventions improve youth outcomes. The present study involved a comprehensive meta-analysis of all outcome studies of intergenerational, one-on-one youth mentoring programs written in the English language between 1975 and 2017, using rigorous inclusion criteria designed to align with developmental theories of youth mentoring. Analysis of 70 mentoring outcome studies, with a sample size of 25,286 youth (average age of 12 years old), yielded a statistically significant effect of mentoring programs across all youth outcomes. The observed effect size fell within the medium/moderate range according to empirical guidelines derived from universal prevention programs for youth, and was consistent with past meta-analyses of youth mentoring. Moderation analyses indicated that programs serving a larger proportion of male youth, deploying a greater percentage of male mentors or mentors with a helping profession background, and requiring shorter meetings yielded larger effect sizes, as did evaluations that relied on questionnaires and youth self-report. Taken together, these findings provide some support for the efficacy of mentoring interventions, while also emphasizing the need to remain realistic about the modest impact of these programs as currently implemented, and highlighting opportunities for improving the quality and rigor of mentoring practices.

Keywords

Meta-analysis Youth mentoring Relational theory 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by funding from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Connected Learning and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.

Authors’ Contributions

E.B.R. led data management and analysis, wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and coordinated draft revisions; J.R. conceptualized and designed the study, oversaw study execution, and contributed to drafts of the manuscript; G.J.J.M.S. and N.C. consulted on study coding and conducted the statistical analyses; J.K. led the development of the outcome coding scheme; S.S. reviewed and contributed to the final draft of the manuscript; and S.B., L.Y.S., S.K., and S.H. conducted literature searches and then identified and coded relevant studies. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All research reported on in the manuscript was conducted in compliance with APA ethical principles. The study consisted of secondary analyses of de-identified data, and therefore did not require formal consent or ethics board approval.

Supplementary material

10964_2019_982_MOESM1_ESM.docx (47 kb)
Supplementary Information

References

  1. Aos, S., Lieb, R., Mayfield, M., Miller, M., & Pennucci, A. (2004). Benefits and costs of prevention and early intervention programs for youth. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.Google Scholar
  2. Arnold, M. E., & Cater, M. (2016). From then to now: emerging directions for youth program evaluation. Journal of Youth Development, 6(3), 80–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Assink, M., & Wibbelink, C. M. (2016). Fitting three-level meta-analytic models in R: a step-by-step tutorial. The Quantitative Methods for Psychology, 12, 154–174.  https://doi.org/10.20982/tqmp.12.3.p154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnet, B., Liu, J., DeVoe, M., Alperovitz-Bichell, K., & Duggan, A. K. (2007). Home visiting for adolescent mothers: effects on parenting, maternal life course, and primary care linkage. Annals of Family Medicine, 5(3), 224–232.  https://doi.org/10.1370/afm.629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Belsky, J., & Cassidy, J. (1994). Attachment and close relationships: An individual-difference perspective. Psychological inquiry, 5(1), 27–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blake‐Beard, S., Bayne, M. L., Crosby, F. J., & Muller, C. B. (2011). Matching by race and gender in mentoring relationships: Keeping our eyes on the prize. Journal of Social issues, 67(3), 622–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blakeslee, J. E., & Keller, T. E. (2012). Building the youth mentoring knowledge base: publishing trends and coauthorship networks. Journal of Community Psychology, 40(7), 845–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bogat, G. A., & Liang, B. (2005). Gender in mentoring relationships. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of Youth Mentoring (pp. 205–217). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Bornstein, M. H., Hahn, C. S., & Haynes, O. M. (2010). Social competence, externalizing, and internalizing behavior adjustment from early childhood through early adolescence: developmental cascades. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 717–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: parent-child attachment and healthy human development. Basic Books, USA.Google Scholar
  11. Burns, M. K., Senesac, B. V., & Symington, T. (2003). The effectiveness of the hosts program in improving the reading achievement of children at-risk for reading failure. Reading Research and Instruction, 43(2), 87–103.  https://doi.org/10.1080/19388070409558406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cavell, T. A., & Elledge, L. C. (2013). Mentoring and prevention science. Handbook of youth mentoring, 29–43.Google Scholar
  13. Cavell, T. A., & Elledge, L. C. (2014). Mentoring and prevention science. In D. DuBois & M. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of Youth Mentoring (2nd Edn, pp. 29–42). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Chan, C., Rhodes, J., Howard, W., Schwartz, S., Lowe, S., & Herrera, C. (2013). Pathways of influence in school-based mentoring: the mediating role of parent and teacher relationships. Journal of School Psychology, 51, 129–142.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2012.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cheung, M. W. L. (2014). Modeling dependent effect sizes with three-level meta-analyses: a structural equation modeling approach. Psychological Methods, 19, 211–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cheung, A. C. K., & Slavin, R. E. (2015). How methodological features affect effect sizes in education. Best Evidence Encyclopedia. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, 1–35.Google Scholar
  17. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd edn). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. Cummings, L. (2010). Evaluating the influence of participation in a diverse high school-based group mentoring program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University.Google Scholar
  19. Darling, N., Hamilton, S., Toyokawa, T., & Matsuda, S. (2002). Naturally occurring mentoring in Japan and the United States: social roles and correlates. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(2), 245–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. DuBois, D., & Karcher, M. (2013). Youth mentoring in contemporary perspective. In DuBois & M. Karcher (Eds), The Handbook of Youth Mentoring (2nd edn). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. DuBois, D. L., Holloway, B. E., Valentine, J. C., & Cooper, H. (2002). Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth: a meta-analytic review. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(2), 157–197.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014628810714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. DuBois, D. L., Portillo, N., Rhodes, J. E., Silverthorn, N., & Valentine, J. C. (2011). How effective are mentoring programs for youth? A systematic assessment of the evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 12(2), 57–91.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100611414806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Durlak, J. A., & Wells, A. M. (1998). Evaluation of indicated preventive intervention (secondary prevention) mental health programs for children and adolescents. American journal of community psychology, 26(5), 775–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Duval, S., & Tweedie, R. (2000). Trim and fill: a simple funnel-plot-based method of using and adjusting for publication bias in meta-analysis. Biometrics, 56, 455–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eby, L. T., Allen, T. D., Evans, S. C., Ng, T., & DuBois, D. L. (2008). Does mentoring matter? A multidisciplinary meta-analysis comparing mentored and non-mentored individuals. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72(2), 254–267.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2007.04.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Egger, M., Davey Smith, G., Schneider, M., & Minder, C. (1997). Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test. BMJ, 315(7109), 629–634.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7109.629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Everhart, K. (2000). Promoting Resiliency in at-risk children through an integrated adult-child mentoring and character development program: an analysis of mentoring strategies with regard to outcomes. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of South Carolina.Google Scholar
  28. Franco, A., Malhotra, N., & Simonovits, G. (2014). Publication bias in the social sciences: unlocking the file drawer. Science, 345, 1502–1505.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1255484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jarjoura, G. R. Tanyu, M, Forbush, J., Herrera, C., & Keller, T. (2018). Evaluation of the Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Program: Technical Report. American Institutes for Research Technical Report. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  30. Gatto, M. (2006). The effects of a goal-oriented mentoring group on the self-efficacy of children. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Garringer, M., Kupersmidt, J., Rhodes, J., Stelter, R., & Tai, T. (2015). Elements of effective practice for mentoring (4th edn). Boston: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.Google Scholar
  32. Grossman, J. B., Chan, C. S., Schwartz, S. E. O., & Rhodes, J. E. (2012). The test of time in school-based mentoring: the role of relationship duration and re-matching on academic outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 49(1-2), 43–53.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-011-9435-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grossman, J. B., & Rhodes, J. E. (2002). The test of time: predictors and effects of duration in youth mentoring relationships. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(2), 199–219.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13611267.2013.855864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hanlon, T. E., Simon, B. D., O’Grady, K. E., Carswell, S. B., & Callaman, J. M. (2009). The effectiveness of an after-school program targeting urban African American youth. Education and Urban Society, 42(1), 96–118.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0013124509343144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hedges, L., & Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical models for meta-analysis. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  36. *Herrera, C., DuBois, D. L., & Grossman, J. B. (2013). The role of risk: mentoring experiences and outcomes for youth with varying risk profiles. New York, NY: MDRC.Google Scholar
  37. *Herrera, C., Grossman, J. B., Kauh, T. J., & McMaken, J. (2011). mentoring in schools: an impact study of big brothers big sisters school‐based mentoring. Child Development, 82(1), 346–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. *Herrera, C. Kauh, T. J., Cooney, S. M., Grossman, J. B., & McMaken, J. (2008). High school students as mentors: findings from the big brothers big sisters school-based mentoring impact study. Report.Google Scholar
  39. Herrera, C., Sipe, C. L., & McClanahan, W. S. (2000). Mentoring school-age children: Relationship development in community-based and school-based programs. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures.Google Scholar
  40. Jent, J. F., & Niec, L. N. (2009). Cognitive behavioral principles within group mentoring: a randomized pilot study. Child and Family Behavioral Therapy, 31(3), 203–219.  https://doi.org/10.1080/07317100903099258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jolliffe, D., & Farrington, D. P. (2007). Examining the relationship between low empathy and self‐reported offending. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 12(2), 265–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kanchewa, S. S., Yoviene, L. A., Schwartz, S. E. O., Herrera, C., & Rhodes, J. E. (2016). Relational experiences in school-based mentoring: the mediating role of rejection sensitivity. Youth & Society, 1–22.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X16653534
  43. *Karcher, M. J., Davis, C., Powell, B. (2002). The effects of developmental mentoring on connectedness and academic achievement. The School Community Journal, 12(2), 35–50.Google Scholar
  44. Karcher, M. J., Nakkula, M. J., & Harris, J. (2005). Developmental mentoring match characteristics: correspondence between mentors’ and mentees’ assessments of relationship quality. Journal of Primary Prevention, 26(2), 93–110.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-005-1847-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Knapp, G., & Hartung, J. (2003). Improved tests for a random effects meta‐regression with a single covariate. Statistics in Medicine, 22(17), 2693–2710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kupersmidt, J. B., Stump, K. N., Stelter, R. L., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017a). Predictors of premature match closure in youth mentoring relationships. American Journal of Community Psychology, 59(1-2), 25–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kupersmidt, J. B., Stelter, R. L., Rhodes, J. E., & Stump, K. N. (2017b). Enhancing mentor efficacy and preparedness through web-based pre-match training. The Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 7(3), 197–216.  https://doi.org/10.18666/JNEL-2017-V7-I3-794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  49. Markus, H., & Nurius, P. (1986). Possible selves. American psychologist, 41(9), 954–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Morrow-Howell, N., Jonson-Reid, M., McCrary, S., Lee, Y., & Spitznagel, E. (2009). Evaluation of Experience Corps: Student Reading Outcomes. St. Louis, Missouri: Center for Social Development: Washington University.Google Scholar
  51. National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (2008). Quality assessment tool for quantitative studies. Hamilton: McMaster University. http://www.nccmt.ca/knowledge-repositories/search/14.
  52. Parra, G. R., DuBois, D. L., Neville, H. A., Pugh‐Lilly, A. O., & Povinelli, N. (2002). Mentoring relationships for youth: investigation of a process‐oriented model. Journal of Community Psychology, 30(4), 367–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Raposa, E. B., Ben‐Eliyahu, A., Olsho, L. E., & Rhodes, J. (2019). Birds of a feather: is matching based on shared interests and characteristics associated with longer youth mentoring relationships? Journal of Community Psychology. 1–13.Google Scholar
  54. Raposa, E. B., Dietz, N., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017). Trends in Volunteer mentoring in the United States: analysis of a decade of Census Survey Data. American Journal of Community Psychology, 1, 1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12117.Google Scholar
  55. Raposa, E. B., Rhodes, J. E., & Herrera, C. (2016). The impact of youth risk on mentoring relationship quality: do mentor characteristics matter? American Journal of Community Psychology, 57, 320–329.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rhodes, J. E. (2005). A theoretical model of youth mentoring. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (pp. 30–43). Thousand Oakes: Sage Press.Google Scholar
  57. Rhodes, J. E., Lowe, S., Litchfield, L., & Samp-Walsh, K. W. (2008). The role of gender in youth mentoring relationship satisfaction and duration. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72(2), 183–192.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2007.09.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rhodes, J. E., Reddy, R., & Grossman, J. B. (2005). The protective influence of mentoring on adolescents’ substance use: direct and indirect pathways. Applied Developmental Science, 9(1), 31–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rhodes, J. E., Reddy, R., Grossman, J. B., & Lee, J. M. (2002). Volunteer mentoring relationships with minority youth: an analysis of same- versus cross-race matches. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(10), 2114–2133.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb02066.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rogoff, B. (1978). Spot observation: an introduction and examination. Quarterly Newsletter of the Institute for Comparative Human Development, 2(2C), 21–26.Google Scholar
  61. Rosenthal, R. (1979). The file drawer problem and tolerance for null results. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 639–641.Google Scholar
  62. Ruzek, E. A., Hafen, C. A., Allen, J. P., Gregory, A., Mikami, A. Y., & Pianta, R. C. (2016). How teacher emotional support motivates students: the mediating roles of perceived peer relatedness, autonomy support, and competence. Learning and Instruction, 42, 95–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sánchez, B., Reyes, O., & Singh, J. (2006). Makin’it in college: the value of significant individuals in the lives of Mexican American adolescents. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 5(1), 48–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Simões, F., & Alarcão, M. (2014). Promoting well-being in school-based mentoring through basic psychological needs support: Does it really count? Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(2), 407–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Splendelow, J. S., Simonds, L. M., & Avery, R. E. (2017). The relationship between co-rumination and internalizing problems: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(2), 512–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Spilt, J. L., Hughes, J. N., Wu, J. Y., & Kwok, O. M. (2012). Dynamics of teacher-student relationships: Stability and change across elementary school and the influence on children as academic success. Child development, 83(4), 1180–1195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sutton, A. J., Duval, S., Tweedie, R., Abrams, K. R., & Jones, D. R. (2000). Empirical assessment of effect of publication bias on meta-analyses. BMJ, 320, 1575–1577.Google Scholar
  68. Tabachnik, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using Multivariate Statistics (6th edn). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  69. Tanner-Smith, E. E., Durlak, J. A., & Marx, R. A. (2018). Empirically based mean effect size distributions for universal prevention programs targeting school-aged youth: a review of meta-analyses. Prevention Science, 19(8), 1091–1101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. *Taussig, H. N., & Culhane, S. E. (2010). Impact of a mentoring and skills group program on mental health outcomes for maltreated children in foster care. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 164(8), 739–746.Google Scholar
  71. Thompson, R. B., Corsello, M., McReynolds, S., & Conklin-Powers, B. (2013). A longitudinal study of family socioeconomic status (SES) variables as predictors of socio-emotional resilience among mentored youth. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 21(4), 378–391.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13611267.2013.855864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Tolan, P., Henry, D., Schoeny, M., & Bass, A. (2008). Mentoring interventions to affect juvenile delinquency and associated problems. Chicago: The University of Illinois at Chicago.Google Scholar
  73. Van Dam, L., Smit, D., Wildschut, B., Branje, S. J. T., Rhodes, J. E., Assink, M., & Stams, G. J. (2017). Does natural mentoring matter: a multilevel meta-analysis on the association between natural mentoring and youth outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62, 203–220.Google Scholar
  74. Van den Noortgate, W., López-López, J. A., Marín-Martínez, F., & Sánchez-Meca, J. (2014). Meta-analysis of multiple outcomes: a multilevel approach. Behavior Research Methods, 47, 1274–1294.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-014-0527-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Viechtbauer, W. (2010). Conducting meta-analyses in R with the metafor package. Journal of Statistical Software, 36, 1–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wheeler, M. E., Keller, T. E., & DuBois, D. L. (2010). Review of three recent randomized trials of school-based mentoring: making sense of mixed findings. Social Policy Report, 24(3), 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Woods, C., & Preciado, M. (2016). Student-mentor relationships and students’ college attitudes. Journal of EduWhecation for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 21(2), 90–103.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10824669.2015.1127767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth B. Raposa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean Rhodes
    • 2
  • Geert Jan J. M. Stams
    • 3
  • Noel Card
    • 4
  • Samantha Burton
    • 2
  • Sarah Schwartz
    • 5
  • Laura A. Yoviene Sykes
    • 2
  • Stella Kanchewa
    • 2
  • Janis Kupersmidt
    • 6
  • Saida Hussain
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesCollege of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child Development and EducationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  4. 4.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologySuffolk UniversityBostonUSA
  6. 6.Innovation Research & TrainingDurhamUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations