Mentor Response to Youth Academic Support–Seeking Behavior

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Graduate School of Social Work


Mentoring-based interventions for adolescent offenders are promising strategies for reducing the likelihood of academic underachievement, truancy, and school dropout. Program effectiveness, however, varies widely. Investigation into factors that strengthen the impact of mentoring on academic-related outcomes is warranted. One factor might be academic attunement, or the degree to which a mentor’s emphasis on academics is consistent with youth’s academic support–seeking behavior and desire for academic help. This within-group study examined the relationship between mentor attunement and academic outcomes among youth (N = 204; ages 11-18; 54.5% male) who participated in a time-limited mentoring program. Latent profile analysis identified three distinct groups: attuned mentors, overfocused mentors, and underfocused mentors. In general, youth with attuned mentors reported better postintervention scores as compared with youth with misattuned (i.e., overfocused or underfocused) mentors on perception of school usefulness and importance, academic self-efficacy, and truancy, but not grade point average. Findings suggest the importance of monitoring academic attunement.

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