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Contextual and Developmental Processes of Mentoring: Identifying Critical Components of Effective Prevention Programming for Impoverished Adolescents

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $260,127)

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.

The purpose of the proposed research is to determine contextual and developmental processes underlying the link between sense of connectedness to an adult and delinquency among impoverished youth. Using annual data spanning ten years (ages 9-18), this project will: 1) determine whether sense of connectedness to an adult contributes to connectedness in other social contexts, namely neighborhood, school, and peers, and whether this process, in turn, reduces delinquency; 2) examine the differential impact of connectedness to an adult over the course of development from childhood to early adulthood, and 3) identify profiles of personal and environmental characteristics which may moderate the social contextual process of connectedness and contribute to differences in developmentally-linked responses to this process. The results of this work will identify critical elements of mentorship programs that incorporate the contextual realities and developmental needs of impoverished youth. To measure the project's goals, the PIs will investigate the following: 1) the number of statistical models within each research question performed and documented; 2) the number of reports delivered to OJJDP on time; 3) the number of peer-reviewed journal articles published as a result of funding, and 4) the number of live presentations of project results given to practitioners and researchers.

Date Created: August 28, 2012