Sánchez, B., Pryce, J., Silverthorn, N., Deane, K. L., & DuBois, D. L. (2018). Do mentor support for ethnic-racial identity and mentee cultural mistrust matter for girls of color? A preliminary investigation. Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology. doi:10.1037 /cdp0000213
Summarized by Cyanea Poon & Rachel Thompson
Notes of Interest: When it comes to mentoring little is known about the role of racial, ethnic, and cultural characteristics of mentors and youth. To adequately address the needs of girls of color, this study examined the role of mentor support for ethnic–racial identity in how girls of color experience their mentoring relationships over time as well as in their ethnic identity and cultural mistrust their White peers. Overall, this study demonstrates that mentor support for ethnic–racial identity predicted relative increases in youth reports of relational satisfaction. Moreover, higher mentor support for ethnic–racial identity predicted increases in ethnic identity exploration among girls with White mentors. Lastly, a greater cultural mistrust toward Whites was a predictor of decreased instrumental relationship satisfaction among girls with White mentors.
Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)
The aim of this repeated-measures study was to examine the roles of cultural mistrust and perceived mentor support for ethnic–racial identity in a sample of girls of color. It was hypothesized that mentors’ support for ethnic–racial identity measured at baseline would influence relationship quality, as well as the girls’ ethnic identity and cultural mistrust, at the end of the intervention, adjusting for baseline measures. It was also hypothesized that girls’ cultural mistrust toward Whites at baseline would be negatively associated with mentoring relationship quality at the end of the intervention. Participants were 40 adolescent girls of color who were matched with racially– ethnically diverse women mentors in a community-based mentoring program. Mentor support for ethnic–racial identity as reported by youth significantly predicted relative increases in youth reports of relational but not instrumental satisfaction. Higher mentor support for ethnic–racial identity also significantly predicted increases in ethnic identity exploration, but only among girls with White mentors. Further, youth’s reported greater cultural mistrust toward Whites was a significant predictor of decreased instrumental relationship satisfaction among girls with White mentors. Findings support the importance of further efforts to understand the roles of culturally relevant relationship processes and youth attitudes in mentoring interventions for girls of color
Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)
There are a number of implications based on this study. The current investigation was one of the first to examine the role of girls’ cultural mistrust in their relationships with mentors. Findings suggest that cultural mistrust may indeed serve as a barrier to relationships between female mentees of color and White mentors. This highlights the importance of providing training and supervision of cultural and relational dynamics in mentoring relationships between girls of color and White mentors, particularly for girls who harbor cultural mistrust. Given the significance of trust in effective mentoring relationships, practitioners would do well to consider girls’ cultural mistrust in the matching process and/or incorporate attention to this process in match supervision and support. As suggested by previous researchers (Albright et al., 2017), it is also recommended that mentors be trained to support girls of color in their ethnic–racial identity development. Mentoring staff can train mentors to not only help girls explore their ethnic–racial identity but also affirm their identity and help girls of color develop a sense of belonging to their ethnic–racial group. As these trainings are provided, it is necessary that they be evaluated to explore their influence on relationship quality and, ultimately, youth outcomes. Ethnic–racial identity is critically important to the healthy development of youth of color (Rivas-Drake et al., 2014). A positive ethnic–racial identity has also been found to buffer the negative effects of stressors and deleterious life events (e.g., racial discrimination; Rivas-Drake et al., 2014) in the lives of youth. Therefore, it is imperative that mentoring programs include a positive ethnic–racial identity, alongside traditional goals such as academic achievement and preventing problem behaviors, as a goal of their programs. Prioritizing attention to these important interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences can support adult mentors in partnering with girls of color to ultimately help advance their resilience, resistance, and healthy successful development (Clonan-Roy et al., 2016)
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