Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gabriel P. Kuperminc, Ph.D - Chair

Second Advisor

Lisa P. Armistead, Ph.D

Third Advisor

James G. Emshoff, Ph.D


Despite decreasing rates of teen pregnancy within the U.S., rates remain high for African American girls (Guttmacher Institute, 2006). Comprehensive youth development programs aim to address teen pregnancy. This study examined the role of natural mentors in relation to participation in Cool Girls, Inc. and girls’ sexual efficacy among middle school girls. Furthermore, the quality of natural mentor relationship was assessed. Results provide no support that participation in the program and the presence of a natural mentor significantly affects sexual efficacy. Furthermore, the quality of natural mentor relationship did not significantly increase girls’ sexual efficacy. However, while not explicitly hypothesized, older girls reported significantly higher sexual efficacy. Limitations and strengths of the study are discussed. Directions for future research and intervention are suggested.