An examination of the mentoring strategies and match quality indices that effect both a child’s change in social competency and a mentor’s sense of sufficiency
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Much of the recent literature in mentoring centers on the effectiveness of volunteers who donate their time to relationships with children in need of a positive adult role model (DuBois & Karcher, 2005). Because mentors generally take on a great deal of responsibility with youth who are often at-risk either personally or academically (Commonwealth Fund, 1998; McLearn, Colasanto & Schoen, 1998; McLearn et al., 1999), researchers want to identify those variables and practices that increase the chance of a successful and beneficial relationship (Nakkula & Harris, 2005). This study examined the benefits of adult-child mentoring and looked for connections between the mentees’ growth in social competence and the relationship length, match quality, and specific mentoring strategies employed. The mentors’ perceptions of sufficiency about the match, the mentee’s additional resources, and their own abilities were also examined. A survey was distributed electronically to 890 Austin, Texas mentors about their relationships, and a separate school level survey was distributed to the 90 mentor contacts located in each school that utilizes mentors. School demographic data was also collected from the Texas Education Agency. The results indicate that longer and more high-quality matches, an increased importance placed on getting the mentee to care more about others, and spending more time with the mentee’s teachers all predict higher levels of growth in specific social competencies. The strength of the match was also a positive predictor of the mentors’ sense of sufficiency about themselves and about the impact of mentoring with their mentee. The results suggest a need for increased training in the specific caring and teacher-involvement mentor strategies, and for more discussion with mentors about the importance of committing to long-term, high-quality matches.