Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Jean Rhodes

Second Advisor

Tahirah Abdullah

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Raposa


Youth mentoring programs are a promising intervention for youth, particularly those who experience or are at risk for developing a range of psychological, social, behavioral, and contextual difficulties. Cross-age peer mentoring is a form of formal peer mentoring that matches an older youth mentor with a younger youth mentee to promote positive youth outcomes. The current study used meta-analysis to explore the overall effectiveness of cross-age peer mentoring programs, as well as to explore moderators of cross-age peer mentoring program effectiveness. A comprehensive search of the literature published prior to April 2019 was conducted to identify evaluations of cross-age peer mentoring programs. Both computer-based and manual search methods were used to locate studies for the current analysis. Analyses included only studies that evaluated a program aimed at improving youth outcomes through a one-on-one, cross-age peer mentoring relationship in which the youth mentor was at least two years older than the youth mentee. Studies were coded for mentee, mentor, match, program, and methodological characteristics, as well as outcome characteristics. A multi-level meta-analytic approach was used to estimate the overall effect size of cross-age peer mentoring programs, as well as to explore moderators of program effectiveness. Results found a statistically significant medium effect size of the overall impact of cross-age peer mentoring. Moderator analyses indicated several program characteristics that increase the effectiveness of cross-age peer mentoring programs, including programs that are community-based, conducted in urban settings, demonstrate moderate to high levels of adult oversight and supervision, target specific youth outcomes, and have smaller sample sizes. The results of the present study suggest that cross-age peer mentoring is a promising intervention with significant youth outcomes. Findings also suggest the importance of adequate training, supervision, and oversight for youth mentors during program implementation.