Deconstructing “Risk” in Youth Mentoring Programs: How Environmental Stressors and Presenting Challenges Shape Mentoring Relationship Outcomes
This research explores the variability in challenges faced by youth referred to mentoring programs. The study aims to understand the patterns of these challenges and their implications for mentoring outcomes.
The study utilized data from an evaluation of multiple mentoring programs in the United States. The research employed a person-centered approach and latent profile analysis (LPA), to identify latent homogeneous subgroups of youth. The goal was to understand variability in youth profiles of youth examine individual and environmental stressors as predictors of youth challenges.
Among 2,165 youth mentees, 4 distinct profiles emerged ranging from Low Challenges to Elevated Challenges. Environmental stressors were related to more intense youth symptoms. Profiles with higher externalizing and social challenges demonstrated low youth-perceived relationship attributes (i.e., closeness, youth-centeredness, growth focus, and mentor-mentee relational health).
Findings underscore variabilities of risk for youth mentees and related mentoring outcomes. Recognizing the distinct challenges and environmental stressors faced by youth can guide mentoring programs to tailor their approaches and mentor-mentee matches, ensuring more effective interventions and better outcomes for the mentees.