Mentoring programs that pair young people with non-parental adults are a popular strategy for early intervention with at-risk youth. To examine the extent to which these types of interventions improve outcomes for young people, Elizabeth B. Raposa and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of outcome studies of one-to-one youth mentoring programs written in English between 1975 and 2017.
Their analysis included 70 studies with a sample size of 25,286 children and young people (average age = 12 years), and considered five broad outcome categories: school, social, health, cognitive, and psychological outcomes.
The findings from their meta-analysis suggested:
- There were no significant difference in effect sizes across these five types of outcomes.
- Overall, they found an average effect size of +0.21 across all studies and outcomes, which is consistent with past meta-analyses that have shown overall effect sizes ranging from +0.18 to +0.21.
- Programs that had a larger proportion of young males who were being mentored in the sample, a greater percentage of male mentors, or mentors who worked within the helping profession showed larger effect sizes, as did evaluations that relied on questionnaires and youth self-report.
The authors suggested that the findings provided some support to the efficacy of one-to-one, caring relationships with adults, and low-cost mentoring programs.
Source: Raposa, E. B., Rhodes, J., Stams, G. J. J. M., Card, N., Burton, S., Schwartz, S., … Hussain, S. (2019). The effects of youth mentoring programs: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(3), 423–443.