This review addresses four topics related to group mentoring for children and adolescents: (1) its documented effectiveness; (2) the extent to which effectiveness depends on characteristics of mentors, mentees, or program practices; (3) intervening processes likely to link group mentoring to youth outcomes; and (4) the success of efforts to reach and engage targeted youth, achieve high-quality implementation, and adopt and sustain programs over time. This update of a review completed nearly five years ago finds a substantial increase in the number of research studies examining group mentoring and adds to a growing body of evidence supporting at least the short-term effectiveness of formal group mentoring programs. In addition, there are pockets of research that address conditional factors, intervening processes, and factors related to implementation. Overall, the evidence to date supports the following conclusions:
- Group mentoring programs can produce an array of positive outcomes for youth (behavioral, emotional, academic, etc.) and seem to be effective across a wide range of youth characteristics (ages, ethnicities, etc.) and diverse program models.
- Additional social and relational processes, such as group cohesion, belonging, and a strong group identity, may also contribute to the outcomes youth experience from group mentoring.
- Group mentoring programs offer a context for activities that develop mentee skills, change mentee attitudes, and offer positive peer interactions; and these processes may lead to behavioral outcomes for participants.
Appended to this review are insights and recommendations for practice informed by the findings of the review.
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