Measurement of Mentoring Process

  • Research Project

What We Do

This project examined the processes that make up mentoring interactions to understand the “how” of mentoring from both the adult mentor and youth mentee perspective.

Through reviewing theoretical and practical literature on mentoring, we identified a set of 5 processes (Role Modeling, Advocacy, Relationship and Emotional Support, Teaching and Information Provision, and Shared Activity) that were commonly mentioned as occurring within mentoring relationships and developed an assessment tool to capture them. Our study validated these five components as distinct and important factors making up the overall scale and showed that these processes relate to other important characteristics of effective mentoring, when rated by adult mentors. For youth, the items formed as a single general positive mentoring activity scale.

We think the scale can help reveal how mentoring works, what differentiates effective and ineffective mentoring, and what may be important training targets and skills for mentors. This scale also has promise to help address inequities in access to quality mentoring. Too often the quality of mentoring available is dependent on economic and social resources, with little guidance on critical components of the mentoring relationship. If we can learn what makes mentoring effective, training can concentrate on those skills and activities. The scale and the practices the scale measures can be used to help guide initial and ongoing training. The scale can also be used to highlight if and how mentors might be applying learned skills in their daily work with mentees. By better understanding the mechanisms of positive influences, disparities in mentoring program quality can be better identified and remediated, thus ensuring a greater likelihood for successful mentoring impacts across communities. 

For more information about this research and the MPS, please see: 

Tolan, P. H., McDaniel, H. L., Richardson, M., Arkin, N., Augenstern, J., & DuBois, D. L. (2020). Improving understanding of how mentoring works: Measuring multiple intervention processes. Journal of Community Psychology

You can also review the Mentoring Process Scale.

Project Team

Heather McDaniel

Heather McDaniel

  • Research Assistant Professor
Patrick Tolan

Patrick H. Tolan

  • Charles S. Robb Professor Emeritus of Education

Contact Us

Mailing Address

  • 405 Emmet Street South
    PO Box 400281
    Charlottesville, VA 22903