Youth mentoring: Investigation of relationship characteristics and perceived benefits

David L. DuBois, Helen A. Neville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examined associations among characteristics of relationships formed in two community-based mentoring programs and their linkages with ratings of perceived benefits for youth. Volunteer mentors in a Big Brothers/ Big Sisters program completed a questionnaire on a monthly basis for a period of six months, whereas undergraduate students serving as mentors through a service-learning course completed a questionnaire on one occasion only. Mentors' ratings of emotional closeness with youth were found to be associated with reports of fewer contacts with program staff and relationship obstacles in each program. Reports of more extensive amounts of mentor-youth contact and feelings of closeness were, in turn, each associated with ratings of greater benefits for youth. Findings also indicated a tendency for mentors in longer term relationships in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program to perceive greater benefits for youth, but this was evident only after controlling for a countervailing tendency of mentors in these relationships to report spending less time with youth. Implications for the design and evaluation of youth mentoring programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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