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Research Design

Research Design

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Mattering. Mattering reflects an individual’s sense that he or she is important to and valued by others (Marshall, 2001). It is hypothesized that unless mentees feel as if they matter to their mentors, those mentors will not be experienced as significant adults in the mentees’ lives and the mentees will not experience positive changes in social, academic, or attitudinal indices.

Mentor significance. Significance, as is commonly measured in the social support literature, may be indicated by mentees’ spontaneously nominating their mentors as important people in their lives (DuBois, Neville et al., 2002). To develop a strong bond with the mentor, it is expected that mentees must first view their mentors as a significant people in their lives.

Connectedness. Connectedness reflects individuals’ active engagement in important contexts and relationships and their caring for those places and people (Karcher, 2001). Connectedness includes not only a positive attitude, such as towards school or teachers, but also proactive engagement in contexts and relationships which serve as a protective factor against risk-taking and violent behavior (Bonny, Britto, Klostermann, Hornung, & Slap, 2000; Karcher, 2002b). Connectedness reflects a reciprocation of social support form others and therefore should increase following effective mentoring. The Hemingway Measure of Adolescent Connectedness is used to determine a student's connectedness to various worlds, such as school, family, friends, and self.

The proposed study aims to address these key constructs and questions by exploring the effects of mentoring, for mentors and mentees, and by studying both how such effects can be explained as a function of (a) the mentors’ significance in their mentees’ lives and (b) increases in mentees’ perceived social support, as well as how change can be predicted from (c) mentor qualities (e.g., motivation and social support) and (d) mentor-mentee interactions (e.g., types of activities).

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