Mentoring for Black Male Youth: A Systematic Review of the Research

  • Bernadette Sánchez
  • Noelle M. Hurd
  • Enrique W. Neblett
  • Danielle Vaclavik
Systematic Review


A growing body of literature has been dedicated to evaluating the potential benefits of mentoring interventions. Although the majority of youth served by mentoring interventions are youth of color, little is known about the role of mentoring programs in specific cultural populations. The current literature review was conducted to compile all available research evidence about mentoring for Black boys. The aims of the review were to examine (a) the demonstrated effects of mentoring for Black male youth and (b) the factors that condition or influence (moderators) the effectiveness of mentoring for Black male youth. Available research points to a range of potential benefits of mentoring for this population, such as reduced health-risk behavior and improved academic outcomes, social-emotional wellbeing, mental health, interpersonal relationships, and racial identity. The literature revealed potential moderators of mentoring for Black boys related to program and mentor characteristics. This review showed that there are few studies focused specifically on mentoring for Black boys and that there is generally a lack of rigor in many studies of mentoring programs targeting this group. Further, it is unknown whether culturally tailored mentoring programs are more effective than general mentoring programs targeting diverse youth. We call on researchers to conduct investigations of mentoring for this population, to specifically examine the racial, cultural, and contextual factors that influence the effect of mentoring on Black male youth’s outcomes, and to study culturally specific outcomes.


Mentoring Black African American Boys Adolescents Children 



This manuscript is based on a literature review that was written by the first author for the National Mentoring Resource Center of the National Mentoring Partnership. The National Mentoring Partnership provided funding to the first author to write the review. We would like to thank Andrae Laws for helping with preparation of this manuscript and Amy Anderson, Kitty Beuhler, Becca McGarity Palmer, and the rest of the MIC-Psych research team for editorial feedback on the paper. We are also grateful to David L. DuBois and Mike Garringer who provided feedback on earlier versions of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

BS conducted the literature search and wrote the initial drafts of the review. NH helped with the framing of the review, wrote parts of the paper, provided critical feedback and revised the manuscript. EN helped with the framing of the review, provided critical feedback, and helped to revise the manuscript. DV assisted with the literature search, summarized research articles and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The first author received funding from the National Mentoring Partnership to write the initial version of this literature review.


The National Mentoring Partnership provided funding to the first author to write the initial version of this review, which is located at


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.University of North Carolina Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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