The Long-Term Impact of Natural Mentoring Relationships: A Counterfactual Analysis

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The Long-Term Impact of Natural Mentoring Relationships: A Counterfactual Analysis

Hagler, M. A., & Rhodes, J. E. American Journal of Community Psychology. (2018-08-09)


Overall, this article delves into the enduring effects of natural mentoring relationships on mentees. While previous research has shown that such relationships can lead to improved functioning across several domains, this study aims to understand the long-term impact of these relationships beyond early adulthood.


The study utilized data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Counterfactual analysis was used to compare those with natural mentors to those who did not during their young adulthood. Participants included adults, in which outcomes across various domains were measured.


Overall, findings showed that adults who had a natural mentor during their younger years reported: -higher educational attainment -more time volunteering -more close friends However, there was variability based on type of mentoring relationship. -"Strong Ties" (e.g., grandparents, friends): associated with having more close friends, but a lower income. -"Weak Ties" (e.g., teachers, coaches, employers): linked to higher educational attainment, higher income, and more volunteering time.


The findings suggest that natural mentoring relationships can have a lasting influence on an individual's developmental trajectory. The differential impact based on the type of mentoring relationship underscores the importance of understanding the nuances of mentorships. The study provides a strong rationale for promoting natural mentoring and highlights the potential benefits of expanding their availability and scope.