Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Jean E. Rhodes

Second Advisor

Abbey Eisenhower

Third Advisor

Renee Spencer


This study examines Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM), a new approach to mentoring in which youth nominate mentors from among the nonparental adults within their existing social networks (e.g., teachers, family friends, extended family members). YIM is currently being implemented in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP), an intensive residential intervention program for youth ages 16-18 who have dropped out of high school. This study employed a mixed methods explanatory design, drawing on quantitative data from a national longitudinal evaluation of NGYCP (N = 1,173) and qualitative data (N = 30) from a subsample of participants in the evaluation. Results indicated that more enduring mentoring relationships were associated with greater retention of education, vocational, and behavioral outcomes three years following entry into the study. Qualitative data suggested that mentors in enduring relationships contributed to improvements in participants' educational and occupational success, quality of relationships with parents, peers, and others, and self-concept by providing social-emotional support, instrumental support, and guidance. Results also revealed that youth who chose their mentors on their own (rather than receiving help from parents or program staff) and those whose mentors were of the same race as themselves were more likely to be in enduring mentoring relationships. Implications for research and practice are discussed.


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