A typology of school-based mentoring relationship quality: Implications for recruiting and retaining volunteer mentors

Barbara J McMorris, Jennifer L. Doty, Lindsey M Weiler, Kara J. Beckman, Diego Garcia-Huidobro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A critical component of successful mentoring programs is the quality of relationships. In school-based settings, relationship quality measures tend to rely on single, unidimensional indicators reported by one informant. Using data from a school-based sample of both mentors and mentees enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities (n = 244), we identified multidimensional profiles of mentoring relationships, factors associated with profiles, and associations between profiles and program-related mentor outcomes. Guided by Positive Youth Development concepts, a latent profile analysis identified three profiles based on multi-informant ratings of closeness, communication, engagement, and compatibility: Tough Matches, Tentative Mentors, and Tight Matches. Profile membership was associated with mentors' attitudes toward youth, match expectations, training received, and perceived program support. Profiles were also distinguished by match length and mentor commitment. Tentative mentors and those in tough matches could benefit from targeted practices to increase mentor capacity to connect and engage with mentees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would gratefully like to acknowledge the contributions and collaboration of Deanna Threadgill and Richard Gibson at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities, and most importantly, the match support staff and mentors in the school-based program who chose to participate in the program evaluation. Kara Beckman and Shari Plowman contributed numerous hours to data collection and project coordination. This project was supported by Grant #2012-JU-FX awarded Dr. McMorris by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. In addition, Drs. Doty and Mehus were supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under National Research Service Award in Primary Medical Care grant number T32HP22239 (PI: Borowsky), Bureau of Health Workforce. The opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice, HRSA, HHS, the Bureau of Health Workforce, or the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Match length
  • Mentoring quality
  • Mentors
  • School-based mentoring
  • Youth


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