Mentor Relationships

J. E. Rhodes, S. R. Lowe, S. E.O. Schwartz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An estimated three million American youth are in formal, one-to-one mentoring relationships, and countless more have meaningful, natural mentoring relationships with extended family members, teachers, neighbors, coaches, and other caring, nonparental adults. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that mentoring relationships have the potential to positively influence a range of developmental outcomes, research and evaluation on mentoring has yielded mixed results. In this article, we review the empirical literature on youth mentoring. Although overall effects tend to be modest, the impact of mentoring relationships tends to vary on the basis of the various characteristics of youth, mentors and relationships, as well as the quality and practices of mentoring programs. When mentoring is effective, it is thought to lead to positive academic, behavioral, and psychological outcomes through its influence on adolescents' socioemotional, cognitive, and identity development. Studies have provided preliminary support for these pathways, but additional research is needed to fully understand the underlying processes through which mentoring affects youth development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Adolescence
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780123739513
StatePublished - 2011


  • Cognitive development
  • Identity development
  • Interventions
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Relationships
  • Resilience
  • Risk factors
  • Social support
  • Socioemotional development
  • Supportive adults
  • Youth mentoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Mentor Relationships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this