Measurement of Mentors' Perceived Support and its Relationship to Mentor and Mentee Outcomes

Marshall, Jenna, Clinical Psychology - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Lawrence, Edith, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Mentoring can have powerful benefits for youth as well as for college student mentors. However, mentoring is a challenging endeavor. If the sensitive issues that arise in mentoring are not handled appropriately, neither member of the mentoring dyad will benefit from the experience. The literature emphasizes training and support as being essential for effective mentoring. However, the construct of mentor support and the pathways in which it can be provided require deeper understanding. Using self-report questionnaires from mentors and mentees involved in a service-learning mentoring program, the first two studies of this three-manuscript dissertation examined whether mentors’ level of perceived peer support was associated with mentor and mentee outcomes, respectively. Results showed that mentors with higher perceived peer support had stronger outcomes in autonomy and ethnocultural empathy as compared to college students with alternative community service involvement. Mentor peer support also positively predicted mentees’ self-reported improvement and was associated with higher self-esteem in those mentees who began the program with above average self-esteem scores. This and other research on mentor support is limited, however, by the absence of a validated measure to assess this construct. Thus, the third study focused on the development and initial evaluation of the Mentors’ Perceived Program Support Scale (MPPSS), an 11-item inventory that addresses four areas of support: emotional, informational, tangible assistance, and appraisal. Based on responses from 664 mentors in 19 formal mentoring programs, reliability and validity estimates indicated that the MPPSS may have several advantages over the MCQ’s Programmatic Support subscale, one of the few available measures of mentor support.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
service-learning, mentoring, peer support, self-determination theory, college students, item response theory, measure development
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