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Horizons Expand as Relationships Evolve: An investigation of personality, social-cognitive, and relationship-based predictors of positive youth mentoring outcomes

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $396,484)

This program seeks to enhance what is understood about mentoring as a prevention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or already involved in the juvenile justice system. While mentoring appears to be a promising intervention for youth, more evaluation work is needed to further highlight the components of a mentoring program that are most effective. Research is also needed to demonstrate the specific components of mentoring programs that have a significant impact in reducing juvenile delinquency and offending. This program funds research studies that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. OJJDP expects that the results of this effort will encourage a more effective utilization of resources as well as enhance the implementation of evidence-based best practices for juvenile mentoring. This program is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2012, Public Law 112-55.

Research has amply demonstrated the benefits of a stable mentor relationship, but less is known about the processes by which mentor relationships produce positive outcomes. The Family Center and its partners, Children of Promise and Hour Children, propose a research study, Horizons Expand as Relationships Evolve (HERE), that utilizes an innovative methodology to track the mentor relationship and outcomes for at-risk New York City youth. Personality and social-cognitive measures will be collected at intake, 1 year and 18 months from mentors, their 10-15 year-old mentees, and by a matched sample of non-mentored youth and their parents. HERE models the interplay of personality (e.g., attachment) and social-cognitive (e.g., self-concept) variables between the mentor and mentee. Self-concept and interpersonal perception variables will be assessed using HICLAS, which affords a highly detailed glimpse into the way mentors and mentees view themselves, each other, and their relationship. Prospective analyses will test hypotheses linking individual and relational variables to mentee psychosocial well-being, academic, and behavioral outcomes, including optimism, attachment, self-regulation, and school performance. Latent cluster analyses using HICLAS will reveal a typology of mentor-mentee matches. Results will promote theoretical development and lead to recommendations for mentor recruitment, training,and support.

Date Created: September 4, 2012