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

To determine what to target, we have adopted the widely-used “Top Problems” measure, developed by Harvard University researchers, into the MoodRing on MentorHub. The Mood Ring is meant to complement regular assessments and to focus the mentoring relationships on the problems that mentees consider most important.

MentorHub graphs weekly progress on the MoodRing for easy access to mentees, mentors, and programs . To accomplish this, MentorHub has incorporated sophisticated data collection techniques (e.g., time sampling youth’s moods, period assessments, automatic scoring, and visualization of data) which, aided by machine learning, can simplify and improve the capacity of programs to monitor and evaluate their efforts. Increasing the frequency, accuracy, and efficiency of data collection and analysis has potentially far-reaching effects (e.g., enabling early detection of problems and more targeted support as well as reducing the need for costly program evaluations).

“You got an instant conversation:” E-Mentoring for Youth with Communication Disabilities

Grace, E., Shipman, J., Raghavendra, P., & McMillan, J. M. (2023). “You got an instant conversation”: Goal progress and perceptions following an e-mentoring social media intervention for young people who [...]

Empowering Voices, Challenging Norms: The Photovoice Journey of Black Girls and College Women

Payne, A. N. (2023). A Black feminist youth participatory action research photovoice exploration of Black girls and college women. American Journal of Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12694 Summarized by Ariel Ervin About [...]

Breaking Barriers with MOSSAIC: Empowering Autism Inclusion on Campus through Mentorship and Support

Locke, J., Osuna, A., Myrvold, R. J., & Closson, J. S. (2023). Supporting autistic college students: Examining the mentoring, organization and social support for autism inclusion on campus (MOSSAIC) program. Journal [...]