Most mentoring programs take a non-specific, “friendship” approach. Yet more targeted (i.e., personalized) forms of mentoring are twice as effective!

Strong mentor-youth relationships are essential–but it is  equally important to directly address the specific needs and circumstances of mentees. Research suggests that, relative to non-specific friendship approaches, targeted approaches are more effective. We recently conducted a meta-analysis sought to examine the relative impact of these two distinct approaches to formal mentoring. When type of program was examined, targeted and more problem-specific programs had an average effect size that was more than double the average effect size non-specific, friendship-based programs. Targeted programs were three times more effective than non-specific programs in improving academic, psychological, and social functioning. The mood ring feature enables this sort of specification.

The science of targeted mentoring

RSS MentorHub Blog

  • Youth-initiated mentoring: A scalable approach to addressing mental health problems July 13, 2021
    Viewpoint (Reprinted from the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, Published online April 28, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.0490) By Levi van Dam,  Jean Rhodes, and Renée Spencer, Although adolescents have lower COVID-19 infection rates compared with adults, the pandemic is taking a toll on young people’s mental health. There have been multiple reports of increases in […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Want to double your effects? Hopeful lessons from a new meta-analysis April 15, 2020
    By Jean Rhodes and Kirsten Christensen In a recent study of nearly 2,000 mentors from thirty nationally representative youth mentoring programs operating across the United States, mentors were asked how they spent time with their mentees (Jarjoura et al., 2018). The responses reflected a “non-specific”  approach that emphasized friendship and broad (as opposed to more […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Relying on youth mentoring programs for mental health services: Challenges and implications October 17, 2019
    by Jean Rhodes In a recent issue of  Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology  psychologists Miguel Villodas and Alejandro Vázquez, published a study that has important implications for the future of youth mentoring programs. Their survey of nearly 750 caregivers to adolescents revealed that black caregivers were far less likely than white caregivers to perceive […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Two new studies highlight the need for more targeted mentoring November 15, 2018
    by Jean Rhodes Doctoral student, Alejandro Vázquez, and his faculty mentor, Professor Miguel Villodas had a hunch. They suspected that caregivers were seeking out volunteer mentoring programs as an alternative to traditional mental health services. Villodas, a clinical psychologist, had served as a mentor to several youth, and Vasquez, a doctoral student, was studying patterns […]
    Jean Rhodes