Non-specific versus targeted approaches to youth mentoring: A follow-up meta-analysis.

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Non-specific versus targeted approaches to youth mentoring: A follow-up meta-analysis.

Christensen, K., Hagler, M., Raposa, M., Stams, G. J., & Rhodes, J. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. (2020-02-04)


Sunderman, H. M., & Hastings, L. J. (2023). Generativity development among college students who mentor: a sequential multimethod quantitative study. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 12(2), 145-161. [...]


The study delves into the effectiveness of youth mentoring programs, comparing non-specific, relationship-focused approaches to targeted, problem-specific interventions. Historically, mentoring programs have emphasized the importance of the mentor-mentee bond, suggesting that a strong relationship alone can foster positive developmental change. This research evaluates this presumption.


The research utilized a meta-analytic approach, building on a previous meta-analysis by Raposa et al. (2019). It included evaluations of intergenerational, one-on-one formal youth mentoring programs written in English between 1975 and 2018. The studies were rigorously coded to determine whether the mentoring program was non-specific and relationship-focused or targeted and problem-specific.


The analysis of 48 mentoring studies, with an average youth age of 12.25 years, indicated that the overall effect size of targeted programs was more than double that of non-specific relational approaches. Significant moderator effects were observed on academic, psychological, and social functioning outcomes.


The findings suggest that while the mentor-mentee relationship is crucial, targeted interventions that address specific mentee needs can significantly enhance the effectiveness of mentoring programs. This implies that mentoring programs might benefit from incorporating evidence-based, targeted strategies to better support youth, especially those with distinct challenges.