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Mentoring Relationships and Adolescent Self-Esteem
There is a wide range of approaches to this more formal youth mentoring, but the two most common are community- and school-based programs. In addition This is particularly true in urban, black churches, which tend to be particularly active in their communities and participate in a wide range of community programs. Increased high school graduation rates; Lower high school dropout rates; Healthier relationships and lifestyle choices; Better attitude about school; Higher college enrollment rates Without this, mentoring programs run the risk of harming young people who are paired with mentors ill-equipped to meet the mentees' needs. Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership.
Many more youth have meaningful, natural mentoring relationships with extended family members, teachers, neighbors, coaches, and other caring non-parental adults. Anecdotal accounts of mentoring relationships and their life-transforming effects on young people abound in the media, including stories of caring adults helping young people to discover their strengths and, in doing so, enhance their feelings of self-esteem and confidence. But how does the research bear on this topic?
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Below, we review the highlights of this research, first discussing different approaches to youth mentoring and then summarizing the research on 1 the effects of mentoring relationships on self-esteem, 2 factors that predict variation in relationship effectiveness, and 3 the processes through which these relationships exert such effects.
A range of relationships, from those that develop naturally to those that are formally created through community- and school-based programs, fall under this definition. These relationships are typically between youth and extended family members, such as uncles, aunts, grandparents and godparents, but extend to neighbors, teachers, afterschool providers, guidance counselors, church members, and other caring adults.
Unfortunately, many youth do not readily find older, supportive adults beyond the boundaries of their household. Several factors, including overcrowded schools, parental concerns about safety, and an overall loss of community cohesiveness and social capital have dramatically reduced the availability of caring adults and restricted their opportunities for informal contact with youth. To address the needs of youth who lack attention from caring adults, people are increasingly turning to volunteer mentoring programs.
There is a wide range of approaches to this more formal youth mentoring, but the two most common are community- and school-based programs. In addition, mentoring is being increasingly integrated into other programs for youth. Many mentoring programs are community-based, wherein program personnel match volunteer mentors with at-risk youth.
Mentors and youth generally meet on a weekly basis, with each mentor-youth pair choosing where and when to meet e. Black Dating Websites For Successful Mentoring Activities For High School mentoring programs typically ask mentors to commit to mentoring for a minimum of one year.
Community-based mentoring programs exist across the country, ranging from organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters BBBSwhich serves thousands of youth nationwide, to local programs founded by local businesses or community organizations. Some programs target at-risk youth in general, while others are tailored to specific groups of youth, such as juvenile offenders and youth in foster care.
Beyond community-based mentoring programs, other mentoring programs are integrated into schools. In go here mentoring programs, mentors meet with youth during or after school in the school building and often provide academic assistance in addition to emotional support, guidance, and companionship.
Such relationships tend to be shorter than community-based mentoring relationships, due to their being confined to the academic year. Just as mentoring programs have been integrated into schools, they have also, albeit to a lesser degree, been integrated into other programs that serve youth, including after-school programs, summer camps, competitive sports teams, church youth groups, and other positive youth development programs.
These additional contexts represent rich opportunities for the formation of strong intergenerational ties. Adults in these settings are often afforded ongoing opportunities to engage youth in the sorts of informal conversations and enjoyable activities that can give rise to close bonds. For example, religious communities often provide ongoing encouragement and mentoring through youth outreach and services.
Since social policies in general, and mentoring programs in particular, often do not reach or support the most severely disadvantaged youth, churches often play a critical supportive role. This is particularly true in urban, black churches, which tend to be particularly active in their communities and participate in a wide range of community programs. In addition to informal relationships forged through faith-based communities, a large number of formal mentoring programs are also faith-based, either taking place in or being sponsored by a religious organization.
Studies indicate that low self-esteem in adolescence is associated with a range of negative outcomes, including poorer mental and physical health, decreased economic prospects, and increased levels of criminal behavior e. Relationships, and particularly the emotional support and social approval derived from relationships, appear to play a key role in the development of self-esteem Harter, Theories in psychology propose that self-esteem go here from close attachment relationships in which children receive empathy, care, and praise from idealized others e.
Although this process often takes place in the context source relationships with parents or Black Dating Websites For Successful Mentoring Activities For High School caretakers, this process can also occur with others, including peers, teachers, therapists, or mentors.
In addition, controlled studies of formal mentoring programs suggest that mentoring relationships can have a positive impact on self-esteem.
A meta-analysis of 73 evaluations of youth mentoring programs indicated that, although the effect of mentoring programs source Black Dating Websites For Successful Mentoring Activities For High School broad range of outcomes including self-esteem was generally not large, there was a statistically significant positive influence DuBois et al.
In another meta-analysis of three large-scale, random assignment evaluations of Black Dating Websites For Successful Mentoring Activities For High School mentoring programs, the impact on global self-esteem did not reach statistical significance. In sum, evidence suggests that mentoring can be an effective strategy for increasing youth self-esteem. Although the majority of research has focused on the positive effects of mentoring relationships, it is of utmost importance to also examine the possible risks of such relationships.
As noted earlier, relationships play an important role in influencing self-esteem. While this means close and enduring mentoring relationships can positively influence self-esteem, it also means that relationships have the potential to decrease self-esteem. Moreover, since adolescence tends to be a time of fluctuating sense of self Harter,adolescents may be especially vulnerable to the negative effects of relationships that do not live up to their expectations.
For mentoring programs that target relationally vulnerable youth e. In light of research demonstrating the capacity for some mentoring relationships to have negative effects on self-esteem, it is necessary to identify relationship characteristics that maximize the positive effects of mentoring and minimize the potential for negative effects. Below, we highlight three characteristics of mentoring relationships that may influence the effectiveness of mentoring in increasing adolescent self-esteem.
Studies of both informal and formal mentoring have emphasized the importance of relationship intensity, indicated by how often mentors and youth spend time together. As noted earlier, consistent contact can result in increased self-esteem while inconsistent contact can result in decreased self-esteem Karcher, Frequency of contact has also been associated with other positive youth outcomes. Relationship duration represents another key determinant of effectiveness.
For example, in a reanalysis of the BBBS community- based mentoring programs, Grossman and Rhodes found that positive effects on youth outcomes became progressively stronger as relationships persisted for longer periods of time. Even after correcting for selection bias, relative to controls, youth whose relationships terminated within a year appeared to derive the fewest benefits, and those in particularly short matches, terminating within the first 3 to 6 months, actually suffered declines in reported levels of feelings of self-worth and perceived scholastic competence.
For youth who were in matches that lasted more than a year, however, positive effects were evident on levels of self-worth, perceived social check this out and scholastic competence, parental relationship quality, school value, and levels of both drug and alcohol use.
It is likely that, over time, mentors and youth develop emotional closeness, and that such bonds drive the positive effects of mentoring on mentored youth. Research to date has shown that quality of the mentoring relationship predicts social and academic adjustment e. A youth-driven approach, however, needs to be balanced with structure and goals.
Programs that offer adequate infrastructure increase the likelihood that relationships can endure difficult periods. In fact, research indicates that program practices that support the mentor and relationship e. Unfortunately, moving youth off long waitlists can sometimes take priority over creating high-quality matches.
Mentoring Relationships and Adolescent Self-Esteem
Even among the growing number of programs with careful recruitment, screening, and matching, a relatively smaller proportion devote themselves to in-depth training of volunteers or ongoing support to the mentors.
The National Mentoring Organization provides a set of research-based best practice guidelines, referred to as the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, which provides standards for recruitment, screening, training, matching, monitoring and support, and closure and is publicly available MENTOR, For example, research suggests that unrealistic expectations on the part of the mentor can often contribute to premature termination.
Setting up a career development mentoring program for employees enables an organization to help junior employees to learn the skills and behaviours from senior employees that the junior employees need to advance to higher-responsibility positions. Their research presented evidence for the roles of: Reading for Life and adolescent re-arrest:
Mentor training can be used to help mentors acquire more realistic expectations for their relationships. Such developments represent an important step in identifying key program practices that contribute to positive youth outcomes and in bridging research and practice see Table 4.
Based on empirical and theoretical literature, Rhodes has proposed a model that delineates several processes and conditions presumed to be important for understanding the effects of mentoring relationships on youth see Figure 4. This model suggests that high-quality mentoring relationships exert their effects on academic, behavioral, and psychological outcomes through three interrelated domains of adolescent development: These domains are thought to mutually influence each other, such that improvements in one domain could facilitate improvements in the two others.
For example, increased self-esteem and particularly self-perception of academic abilities can also contribute to cognitive and identity development. In addition, the social-emotional benefits of mentoring are assumed to lead to improvements in parental and peer relationships, which in turn influence positive outcomes in a range of other areas. Notably, however, these positive impacts all depend on a foundation of mutuality, trust, and empathy within the mentoring relationship. Close and enduring relationships may have a unique capacity to influence youth self-esteem.
By connecting youth with a stable and supportive relationship with a read article non-parental adult, mentoring here can provide a context in which adolescents can develop self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
These are important youth assets that are associated with positive psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes.
At the same time, mentoring relationships can have a negative impact on youth self-esteem if such relationships are inconsistent or terminate prematurely. Programs play an important role in fostering high quality mentoring relationships, through careful screening practices, evidence-based training, and ongoing monitoring and support of mentoring relationships.
A deeper understanding of mentoring relationships, combined with high-quality programs, enriched settings, and a better integration of research, practice, and policy will better position programs to harness the full potential of youth mentoring.
Schwartz is currently a fourth year doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests include risk and protective factors in adolescent development and prevention and intervention programs for youth, Black Dating Websites For Successful Mentoring Activities For High School a particular focus on mentoring relationships.
Her research interests include positive adaptation over the transition to adulthood and resilience after traumatic events. Rhodes has devoted her career to understanding the role of intergenerational relationships in the lives of disadvantaged youth. She has published three books, four edited volumes, and over chapters and peer-reviewed articles on topics related to positive youth development, the transition to adulthood, and mentoring.
She sits on the Board of Directors of the National Mentoring Partnership, the advisory boards of over a dozen mentoring and policy organizations, and the editorial board of several journals in community and adolescent psychology. National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Author manuscript; available in PMC Dec Copyright notice and Disclaimer.
These mentoring relationships vary and can be influenced by the type of mentoring relationship that is in effect. Knight shares how giving opinions and telling a teacher how to improve stops the learning for the teacher and instead creates a barrier between the coach and teacher and makes the teacher expect hand-holding. This page was last edited on 4 Februaryat
The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Prev Res. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Community-Based Mentoring Programs Many mentoring programs are community-based, wherein program personnel match volunteer mentors with at-risk youth. School-Based Mentoring Programs Beyond community-based mentoring programs, other mentoring programs are integrated into schools. Integration of Mentoring Within Other Youth Services Just as mentoring programs have been integrated into schools, they have also, albeit to a lesser degree, been integrated into other programs that serve youth, including after-school programs, summer camps, competitive sports teams, church youth groups, and other positive youth development programs.
Relationship Intensity Studies of both informal and formal mentoring have emphasized the importance of relationship intensity, indicated by how often mentors and youth spend time together.
Relationship Duration Relationship duration represents another key determinant of effectiveness. Relationship Quality It is likely that, over time, mentors and more info develop emotional closeness, and that such bonds drive the positive effects of mentoring on mentored youth. Recommendations for Mentoring Programs: Practices which Contribute to Positive Youth Outcomes 1.
PROCESSES Based on empirical and theoretical literature, Rhodes has proposed a model that delineates several processes and conditions presumed to be important for understanding the effects of mentoring relationships on youth see Figure 4.
Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth: American Journal of Community Psychology. Research, theory, and practice. Handbook of Youth Mentoring. Testing a new model of mentoring. A Critical View of Youth Mentoring. How effective are mentoring programs for youth?
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A systematic assessment of the evidence.