What predicts mentor commitment?

Drew, A. L., Keller, T. E., Spencer, R., & Herrera, C. (2020). Investigating mentor commitment in youth mentoring relationships: The role of perceived program practices. Journal of Community Psychology, 48(7), 2264-2276. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22409

Summarized by Monica Arkin

Notes of Interest:

  • Using data from 537 mentors, representing 55 unique mentoring programs, authors explored what factors are associated with mentor commitment.
  • Commitment was associated with mentor satisfaction and investment.
  • Mentors were more committed when their programs set clear expectations, provided sufficient pre-match training, and matched mentor-mentee pairs based on preferences.

Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)

Highly committed mentors may be less likely to end their mentoring relationships with their mentees. Theory suggests commitment is predicted by relationship satisfaction, investment, and perceptions of available alternatives. Mentoring program practices may influence commitment, but little research has investigated potential mechanisms. Using data from 537 mentors representing 55 mentoring programs, this study examined a theoretical path model in which mentor perceptions of program practices, specifically setting expectations, prematch mentor training, and matching based on mentor preferences, predict mentor satisfaction, investment, perceptions of available alternatives, and ultimately, relationship commitment. As expected, commitment was associated positively with satisfaction and investment and negatively with available alternatives. Perceptions of the program setting clear expectations, the amount of prematch training, and matching by preferences predicted mentor commitment. These associations were mediated by relationship satisfaction, investment, and available alternatives, respectively. These findings identify program practices that can support mentor commitment.

Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)

The results of this study suggest that mentors’ perceptions of certain program practices have direct associations with mentor commitment as well as indirect associations mediated by relationship satisfaction, investment, and available alternatives. The findings suggest that programs attempting to increase mentor commitment should set clear expectations with mentors before the start of the match, provide more prematch training, and match mentors and youth based on the mentor’s preferences. All are recommended practices for mentoring programs (MENTOR, 2015), and these results highlight their importance across a wide range of program models and settings.

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