Date of Award

5-8-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Second Advisor

Lisa Armistead

Third Advisor

Timothy Brezina

Fourth Advisor

Laura McKee

Abstract

Group mentoring is a resource-efficient and promising approach to youth intervention that allows for one or more adult mentors to interact with at least two youth for the purpose of fostering positive development (Dubois et al., 2011). Existing research identifies group mentoring as an effective intervention for improving socio-emotional and behavioral youth outcomes by promoting mentor-mentee relationship quality and positive group processes (e.g. group climate, group cohesion; Kuperminc, 2016). To date, most studies of group mentoring have focused on direct effects of program participation; thus, little is known about the program practices and group characteristics that may be associated with mentor-mentee relationship quality, group processes, and positive outcomes. Some potential key practices have been identified in the literature including mentor training, co-mentoring, interaction focus, and mentor-to-mentee ratio (Herrera et al., 2013; Karcher & Nakkula, 2010; Kuperminc & Thomason, 2013).

The current mixed-methods study aimed to begin filling gaps in the group mentoring literature by examining group characteristics and practices that may contribute to positive youth outcomes. The study examined the hypothesis that mentor-mentee relationship quality and group processes mediate the associations between group characteristics (i.e., mentor training, co-mentoring, interaction focus, and mentor-to-mentee ratio) and youth outcomes (i.e., school belonging, self-efficacy, grade point average, earned academic credits). Results revealed preliminary evidence for the positive influence of smaller mentor-to-mentee ratio, mentor training attendance, and instrumental interaction focus on GPA (ratio and training) and group cohesion (instrumental focus), which emerged from mean difference testing. Multilevel structural equation modeling revealed that higher mentee ratings of mentor-mentee relationship quality were associated with increases in school belonging, and positive mentee-reported group climate was associated with increases in both school belonging and self-efficacy. These findings are discussed within the context of qualitative data from mentor and mentee focus groups.

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