Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Jean E. Rhodes

Second Advisor

Abbey Eisenhower

Third Advisor

Renée Spencer


Although quality formal mentoring relationships are associated with beneficial effects on youth’s academic and social-emotional development, these effects have been relatively modest. As such, research has focused on factors that may contribute to relationship quality. Within this context, relatively little is known about the effects of activities that matches engage in on relationship processes and youth outcomes. The purpose of the current study was to investigate associations between mentor-youth activities, and processes and outcomes of school-based mentoring. First, a person-centered approach using latent profile analysis (LPA) was employed to examine whether match activity (i.e., how matches spend their time together) could classify youth into distinct profiles. Second, descriptive analyses examined the characteristics of groups that emerged. Lastly, variable-centered regression analyses were used to examine whether activity profiles predict mentoring youth outcomes and relationship processes (i.e., quality, duration and intensity). Participants included in the study (N=1,110) were from a larger quantitative dataset collected from a national, randomized study of youth in Big Brothers Big Sisters school-based mentoring programs. Results of LPA indicated that a three-profile model was the best fit to the data. These three profiles were labeled instructional, playful, and conversational, and varied on the extent to which they engaged in a range of activities and conversations. Descriptive analyses indicated that there were some differences in gender, age, baseline stress, mentor goals, and program structure across the three groups. Further, when compared to youth who did not participate in mentoring, youth in the playful group demonstrated both academic and social-emotional benefits, while youth in the instructional group demonstrated largely academic benefits, and youth in the conversational group showed only one benefit. There were marginal differences in youth’s emotional engagement with their mentor, with youth in the playful group reporting greater emotional engagement relative to youth in the other two profiles. Implications for research and practice are discussed.