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

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

  • It’s time to shed light on the “black box” of mentoring programs October 4, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes For the most part, the field of mentoring resisted efforts to move from vague, difficult-to-falsify explanations of how “mentoring works” toward attempts to specify the precise conditions under which different approaches to mentoring might work for different youth.  Psychologist, Patrick Tolan, and his colleagues have argued that the mentoring field’s resistance to […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Untapped potential: New paper argues for deploying mentors to address youth mental health crisis September 8, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes Big Picture The demand for child mental health services vastly exceeds the supply. Fewer than half of young people who need services actually receive treatment, and this gap is expected to widen as rates of mental health problems continue to climb. Mentors can help, particularly if the field more fully embraces what […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Summer memories and a major study on friendship and mobility August 21, 2022
    by Jean Rhodes When I was growing up Allendale, NJ in the 1960’s and 70’s, a family’s social class didn’t define life and determine social mobility the way it does now. Resources varied pretty widely across neighborhoods and families, but Allendale’s 6,000 residents all seemed to know each other. We all spent our long, unscheduled […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Just because: The benefits of reaching out to the people in our lives July 28, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes Findings from an important new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “The Surprise of Reaching Out” highlights the psychological benefits of simply checking in with the people in our lives with brief texts and phone calls. Indeed, these small, casual acts of kindness can have profoundly positive effects. Participants […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Why mentor?: New study has surprising implications for mentor recruitment and retention July 6, 2022
    Jean Rhodes Despite strenuous efforts, many mentoring programs  struggle to recruit enough volunteers for all of the youth who need them.  A major barrier is the fact that, unlike other forms of volunteering, mentoring requires a sustained and relatively intensive  commitment. In some mentoring programs, for example, volunteers are expected to meet with their mentees […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Mentoring + supportive accountability = game changer June 7, 2022
    Jean Rhodes
  • Four ways that mentors can help address the mental health crisis May 18, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes Since the early 1990’s, the major risks facing young people have shifted from physical struggles like teen pregnancy and substance to mental health struggles like anxiety, depression, suicide and self-harm. Indeed,  the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a report noting that “mental health disorders are the most common cause cause of […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Deconstructing “risk” in youth mentoring programs April 24, 2022
    By Cyanea Poon and Jean Rhodes Mentoring programs and researchers often try to get some sense of the “risk factors” facing their mentees. To do so, they often tally up everything from family poverty and marginalization to personal struggles with mental health or friendship.  In a recent study (Poon, Herrera, Jarjoura, Keller, McQuillin, Keller, T., […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • How mentoring programs can help address the youth mental health crisis April 23, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recent released a report warning of a worsening mental health crisis among adolescents. In a recent large survey ( N =7,700), more than 40% of young people reported feeling  “persistently sad or hopeless,” with 20% saying they have contemplated suicide.  As the Deputy Director noted, […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Like compulsive gold miners: Reflecting on five (and counting) new meta-analyses March 29, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes My colleagues and I began conducting meta-analyses of youth mentoring programs around five years ago and we can’t seem to stop. Like compulsive gold miners, we find ourselves returning to this method, again and again, hoping to uncover yet another helpful nugget. A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple evaluations to determine […]
    Jean Rhodes