Meta-analysis underscores importance of perceived similarity in mentoring

320269_3767953353470_1441236060_nEby, .L.T. et al. An interdisciplinary meta-analysis of the potential antecedents, correlates and consequences of protégé perceptions of mentoring. Psychological Bulletin. Advanced online publication.

Summarized by Stella Kanchewa

Overview: In this meta-analytic study, Lillian Eby and colleagues focused on variations in the mentees’ perceptions of relationship quality and types of support they received from their mentors. In addition, they examined the predictors, correlates and outcomes associated with  quality and support across several different forms of mentoring.

Method: A meta-analysis was conducted which included 173 independent samples across three types of mentoring

  • Youth
  • Academic
  • workplace

Studies were included if they investigated the associations between relationship quality and its predictors, correlates, and outcomes (from the mentee’s perspective).

  • Predictors: demographics, human capital, similarity, formal/informal relationship
  • Correlates: interaction frequency, relationship length, performance, motivation, social capital
  • Outcomes: attitudinal, behavioral, career-related and health-related

Results: The researchers identified a range of  important predictors, correlates and outcomes.

  • Predictors- Importantly deep-level similarity (e.g., values, beliefs, personality, experience) as opposed to more than surface-level similarity (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity) had the strongest association with mentee’s perception of relationship quality and support.
  • Correlates Instrumental support, psychosocial support and relationship quality emerged as key correlates in their proposed model.
  • Outcomes—A ranges of positive outcomes emerged:
  • Attitudinal outcomes were associated with mentees’ relationship satisfaction and sense of affiliation
  • Behavioral outcomes were associated with the level of learning/socialization within the relationship
  • Health outcomes and self-efficacy were associated with mentor support and relationship quality.

Implications: The predictors (especially matching on perceived similarly) and correlates outlined in this study that provide suggestions for the creation of high quality, supportive relationships that have the potential to affect positive relationship trajectories and improve a range outcomes.