The Impact of a Campus-Based Therapeutic Mentoring Program

Reference: Rempe, G., Saltis, M., Matheson, D., & Cople, S. (2023). Norm-Referenced Effects of a Campus-Based Therapeutic Mentoring Program. Journal of Youth Development, 18(2), 3.

Summarized by: Ellen Parry Luff

About the Study

In the past decade, the use of mentoring programs in the United States has surged, aiming to foster positive relationships between adults and young individuals for improved emotional, social, and behavioral outcomes. However, while these programs have become more prevalent, research on their effectiveness has not kept pace. Notably, the impact of demographic factors on mentoring outcomes has yielded conflicting results, highlighting the need for more research. This study looks at the Campus Connections (CC) Mentoring Program which was developed in line with research-backed recommendations. The program offers a unique approach by fostering mentor-mentee “families” within a group setting and incorporating various supportive resources. This study aims to evaluate the emotional and behavioral progress of mentees throughout the CC program, using the Behavior Intervention Measurement Assessment System, Second Edition (BIMAS-2), while also investigating the potential influence of demographic factors, specifically mentees’ caregiver-identified sex assigned at birth, on program outcomes.

Key Findings:

  • Despite youth starting above average on maladaptive (behavioral concerns) scales, results indicated a decrease in these behavioral concerns post-intervention.
  • Youth also started below average for adaptive (positive/coping behaviors) scales but results showed an increase in adaptive behavior post-intervention.
  • What semester students participated in the intervention (fall or spring or both) was found to be a significant predictor for social and academic functioning scales. In particular spring participation is linked to higher adaptive subscale results.
  • Participating in both the fall and spring did not have a significant effect on the amount of change in any area. 
  • Results didn’t differ based on caregiver-identified sex assigned at birth. 

Implications for Mentoring

This study highlights the effectiveness of CC and other similar programs, The observed improvements in self-reported behavioral and emotional functioning underscore the potential of community-based interventions like the Campus Connections (CC) program in addressing a wide range of challenges faced by youth. For example the declines in conduct issues hold relevance for professionals linked to the juvenile justice system, while the reduction in negative affect has implications for mental health experts dealing with depression-related concerns. The study also highlighted the importance of maintaining evidence-based practices in the realm of youth mentoring programs. Notably, the study also highlights the effectiveness of a group-oriented mentoring approach, emphasizing the value of creating a broader “mentoring community” within such programs. Additionally the study highlights the need for further research looking at mentoring outcomes in transgender and gender expansive youth.

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