National Mentoring Resource Center Blog

To leave comments on the blog, please enter your name and e-mail address in the fields below. All posts are moderated and will appear after they are approved. Before posting, read the user guidelines

Research Alert: Study Explores Mentoring and Mental Health

JUNE 28, 2016

Editor’s note: From time to time on the NMRC Blog we will cross-post announcements about research studies on mentoring drawing from the research listserv run by NMRC Research Board Chair Dr. David DuBois.

In a recent study, entitled “The role of program-supported mentorship relationships in promoting youth mental health, behavioral and developmental outcomes,” authors Dewit, Dubois, Erdem, Larose & Lipman (2016) “examined the relationship between youth mentoring status and behavioral, developmental, and emotional outcomes” for young people. To do so, the researchers listed surveyed 859 youths between the ages of six and seventeen before they were paired with a mentor. They analyzed outcomes for youths in a continuous mentoring relationship lasting less than twelve months, youths in a continuous mentoring relationship lasting 12 or more months, youths that had mentoring relationships dissolve after less than twelve months, and youths that had mentoring relationships dissolve after twelve or more months.

The study found that mentored youths, especially those in a mentoring relationship lasting twelve or more months, reported “significantly fewer behavioral problems and fewer symptoms of depression and social anxiety than did non-mentored youths.” However, the study also found that male youths who had a mentoring relationship end and were then re-matched with another mentor had significantly lower peer self-esteem and greater depressed mood than non-mentored youths. This did not appear to be a problem for female youths in the same situation, and while continuous mentoring relationships correlated the most strongly with better mental health it seems that any mentoring relationship at all is a net positive for young girls. The researchers speculate that maybe this is due to gender differences in what young boys and girls expect out of a mentoring relationship, but more research is needed to investigate this.

This study affirms the importance of mentoring, and in particular continuous mentorship. As mentoring organizations, we see every day the anecdotal evidence to the benefits of the relationships we cultivate, and this study is further evidence to support what we know from experience. Furthermore, one of the biggest challenges mentoring organizations face is recruiting and retaining committed mentors, and this study helps us realize the importance of this task. Strong commitments from mentors are necessary to achieve the youth outcomes we seek, as this study validates.

Article: Dewit, Dubois, Erdem, Larose & Lipman. (2016). The Role of program-supported mentoring relationships in promoting youth mental health, behavioral and developmental outcomes. Society for Prevention Research, 17(5), 646-657.

You can access this article here. You can join Dr. David DuBois’s youth mentoring research and practice listserv by emailing Dr. DuBois at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great piece. This supports Bronfenbrenner's idea that "every child needs at least one person to be crazy about them." We see in our work at Doc Wayne Youth Services ( the need for long-term, caring, and consistent adults.

Rebekah Roulier, LMHC
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest.
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Request no-cost help for your program

Advanced Search