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Long-Term Study on the Impacts of Training and Peer Support on Relationship Quality and Mentee Outcomes

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $299,221)

This program seeks to enhance what is understood about mentoring as a prevention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or already involved in the juvenile justice system. While mentoring appears to be a promising intervention for youth, more evaluation work is needed to further highlight the components of a mentoring program that are most effective. Research is also needed to demonstrate the specific components of mentoring programs that have a significant impact in reducing juvenile delinquency and offending. This program funds research studies that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. OJJDP expects that the results of this effort will encourage a more effective utilization of resources as well as enhance the implementation of evidence-based best practices for juvenile mentoring.

National trends point to the increased popularity of mentoring programs addressing poor life outcomes for at-risk youth, specifically as a preventative measure for involvement with juvenile justice. Generally, substantial empirical evidence confirms improved outcomes for at-risk youth involved in mentoring programs; however, research falls short in demonstrating the impact of mentor training and support on these outcomes. Currently, there are few controlled studies of interventions designed to improve relationship quality through mentor training and support, particularly those examining long-term youth outcomes. The proposed four-year evaluation study seeks to address several gaps in current mentoring research and inform future best practices in mentoring programming. This study proposes an expansion of a current OJJDP-funded project designed to investigate the impact of enhanced training and peer support for mentors on the quality of mentor-mentee relationships and mentee life outcomes. The research design for the original two-year study employed a between-subject experimental design, with three, randomly assigned, treatment groups: a) mentor training b) mentor-advisee paring and c) interaction intervention, and an equivalent control group. Based on initial findings, this proposal seeks to expand participating mentor/mentee dyads from 400 to 480 and increase relational and outcome data from six months to one year on the entire population. Special attention will be given to unexplored data, including the impact of training and support on mentee depressive inventories. The study also proposes a secondary data analysis utilizing existing MATCH project data to explore the impact of mentor characteristics on match quality and length. Finally, a new quasi-experimental, long-term research design tracking outcomes on dis-enrolled MATCH mentees and an equivalent unmatched comparison group over three years. Thus, the study expects to identify 103 additional mentees for long-term follow-up. Researchers expect results will confirm hypotheses that long-term outcomes are improved among at-risk youth receiving high quality mentoring. This project will continue a research partnership between James Madison University and an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in Harrisonburg, Virginia, an established mentoring program which has consistently surpassed national standards in all areas of quality metrics. Results from this project will be targeted to practitioners in order to augment the quality of mentoring programs and improve the outcomes of at-risk youth.


Date Created: September 29, 2013