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

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  • 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
  • Why do some mentoring relationships “click” while others fail? March 12, 2022
    by Jean Rhodes Even the most caring, consistent mentors may struggle to connect with certain youth, while other matches just seem to click from the start. Researchers have found that the quality of adult-youth relationships is conditioned by a wide range of individual, family, and contextual influences, including: 1.  Interpersonal History Children and adolescents who […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • How therapeutic mentoring can help bridge gaps in mental health care March 2, 2022
    By Jean Rhodes An estimated two-thirds U.S. children and adolescents who suffer from mental health problems will never receive professional care. What’s more BIPOC youth are about half as likely as White youth to access services and receive evidence-based care.  As my colleagues and I have argued, the field of mentoring is well-positioned to step […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Introduction to issue sponsored by Along January 19, 2022
    By Ben Houltberg, Ph.D., LMFT (President & CEO of The Search Institute) and Jean Rhodes, Ph.D. (Director of The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring ) Many of the articles, profiles, and research summaries in this Chronicle issue, sponsored by Along, focus on the importance of teacher-student relationships. They highlight the role of teachers in promoting students’ […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Recent meta-analysis highlights the promise of cross-age peer mentoring January 10, 2022
    by Jean Rhodes Although several meta-analyses of intergenerational mentoring programs have been conducted, my colleagues and I recently conducted the first comprehensive meta-analysis of cross-age peer mentoring programs for youth. Based on the doctoral dissertation of Samantha Burton, Ph.D., the study shows some potentially promising results. Indeed, analyses revealed a medium-sized overall effect of cross-age […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Building a “Sound Relationship House” in mentoring December 1, 2021
    by Jean Rhodes In his Sound Relationship House Theory, psychologist and marriage guru John Gottman defines the attitudes and skills that lead to strong friendships in marriage, delineating them as the “floors” or principles of good marriage. These align with research on how to build strong “working alliances” with children and adolescents in therapy. These also […]
    Jean Rhodes
  • Three logical fallacies that persist in youth mentoring November 11, 2021
    by Jean Rhodes Mentoring has come a long way in recent years. Programs are increasingly embracing evidence-based approaches and recent meta-analyses have shown the benefits of more targeted approaches. Nonetheless, there remain  three fairly persistent fallacies in our field that have distracted programs from the difficult work of creating effective, enduring relationships. But once we […]
    Jean Rhodes