More on Stress & Depression: Next Steps for the Mentoring Study

Hi everyone!!

It’s hard to believe that the summer is coming to a close. For those of you who have been reading since the very beginning, thank you!! In this last blog post I want to return to the findings I covered two posts ago (Stress and Depression Matter: Analysis of Preliminary Results).

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Mentors are Necessary: The Need for Mentors to Underserved Children

Hi everyone!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the lab but I am back and have lots to talk about. Last time I had some pretty exciting results to share with y’all and next week I’ll have some more findings to talk about. This week I wanted to take a quick step back from my data and discuss the necessity of mentoring as a whole.

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Stress and Depression Matter: Analysis of Preliminary Results

Now that my file of data from our United States schools is complete, I’ve started preliminary data analyses and things are looking good! Regression analysis showed that both mentor depression and mentor early life stress statistically significantly impacted the mentoring relationship.

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The Anticipation Builds: Preparing Data for Analysis

Hey y’all!

I’m so excited to send out my first research update! During my time in the lab thus far, I have been conducting an in-depth literature review of mentoring studies. The bulk of the literature focuses on youth characteristics that influence the mentoring relationship. These characteristics include youth environmental stress and behavioral challenges. I have only found one study that touches on mentor emotional background so I hope that I will be able to meaningfully contribute to the mentoring literature at the conclusion of my research! I will analyze mentor stress using two scales: The Risky Families Questionnaire, which measures early life and familial stress, and the Student Stress Scale, which measures previous or ongoing stress in multiple aspects of life. Combined, these two scales will allow me to not only measure mentor stress, but also will allow me to better understand the effects of different types of stressors on mentoring relationships. I will measure mentor depression using the CESDR-10 scale, and I will run analyses analyzing the relationship between mentor’s reported depression and stress levels.

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Predicting the Effectiveness of Youth Mentoring Interventions: The Role of Mentors’ Depressive Symptoms and Stress Exposure

Over the past two decades, structured youth mentoring programs have increased in popularity as an intervention for children living with a host of stressful life circumstances, such as chronic poverty and exposure to community violence. Such programs have been shown to reduce youth risk for emotional distress, particularly depressive symptoms (Herrera, Grossman, Kauh, & McMaken 2011,Rhodes & DuBois, 2008); yet, the effect size of youth gains remains relatively small. As a result, recent research has sought to identify factors that might augment the effectiveness of mentoring interventions. In this study I will investigate the influence of mentors’ history of early life stress and baseline depressive symptoms on their effectiveness in mentoring relationships with youth. Participants included 271 mentor-youth pairs entering a nationwide youth mentoring program. All mentors and youth were randomized to complete nine months of weekly mentoring sessions throughout the academic year. At baseline, prior to mentor-youth matching, mentor early life stress was assessed using the Risky Families Questionnaire (Carroll, Gruenewald, Taylor, Janicki-Deverts, Matthews, & Seeman 2013) and mentor depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale—Revised (CESD-R; Eaton, Muntaner, Smith, Tien & Ybarra 2004). Over the summer I will analyze this data looking for predictors of relationship success and trends of mentor efficacy. Findings from this study will have important implications for adjusting the recruitment, training, and matching of adult volunteers within youth mentoring interventions in order the maximize the impact of such programs on youth psychosocial outcomes.