National Mentoring Month: New Research Roundup


Audrey Breen

For National Mentoring Month, we curated a list of recent research papers that offer the latest insights into effective mentoring.

Mentoring can be an important part of positive youth development during adolescence and beyond. Because mentoring can take several forms, from one-on-one formal meetings to group gatherings to casual hang-outs, it is important to understand what impacts and outcomes various types of mentoring can have for youth.

For National Mentoring Month, we curated a list of four research papers published within the last year that offer the latest insights into effective mentoring.

Mentoring Innovations: The Power of Groups

Group mentoring is more than a casual gathering of youth and adults. Instead, it contains a combination of intentional mentoring activity and group processes, including meaningful, two-way interactions between one or more mentors and at least two mentees. In this literature review, Professor Nancy Deutsch and her colleague from Georgia State University, Gabriel P. Kuperminc, found evidence suggesting that group mentoring can be effective for students in specific settings. Visit the Youth-Nex blog to learn more.

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Mentoring for Educational Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors

Can volunteer mentors really help improve students’ engagement, attitudes, and behavior about school? Assistant Professor Mike Lyons recently co-authored a review to help answer that question. Lyons and his co-authors found that while mentoring programs that match volunteer mentors with students tended to help students feel more connected in school, increase their engagement, and promote positive attitudes about school, they also found that, on average, those positive effects tended to be small and variable. Read more about his review on the Youth-Nex blog.

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Familial Mentor Support

Adolescence brings an important and developmentally appropriate increased desire for autonomy in youth. Yet it is also a time when parent-youth relationships remain important. In this study, two UVA School of Education and Human Development doctoral students and colleagues explored the role and impact of non-parental adults within adolescents’ extended families who serve as a natural mentor. The study was published in the journal Youth & Society.

Read the article.

Brief School-Based Mentoring

Research Assistant Professor Heather McDaniel and her colleague Samuel McQuillin published findings from a pilot study of a 10-session mentoring program designed for middle school students identified as having high incidence of school misconduct. In the study, the authors report positive changes for the student, along with positive feedback from the mentors about the curriculum. The study was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science.

Read the article.