The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 575–589 | Cite as

Mentor’s Self-Efficacy Trajectories During a Mentoring Program for At-Risk Adolescents

  • Ashley A. BoatEmail author
  • Lindsey M. Weiler
  • Molly Bailey
  • Shelley Haddock
  • Kimberly Henry
Original Paper


The concept of self-efficacy is dynamic and may change over time. Mentors of youth exposed to risk factors are likely to experience shifts in the degree to which they feel confident in their ability to form a positive mentoring bond with their mentee, potentially affecting the quality of the relationship. Based on previous literature, mentors’ personality traits, their perceptions of positive mentee behaviors, and youth risk may influence changes in mentor self-efficacy over time. Our study includes 238 adolescents aged 11–18 years and their mentors who were recruited for a randomized controlled trial of a mentoring-based intervention for at-risk adolescents, known as Campus Connections. We used latent class growth analysis to identify mentor subgroups with different self-efficacy trajectories. Three subgroups emerged: mentors relatively high in self-efficacy throughout the mentoring relationship, the stable group; those high in self-efficacy at the beginning of the relationship and increasingly so, the increasing group; and those moderately high in self-efficacy and decreasingly so, the decreasing group. Greater mentor conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness were associated with greater likelihood of belonging to the increasing group relative to the decreasing group. Greater mentor emotionality was associated with greater likelihood of belonging to the decreasing relative to the increasing group. Mentors and mentees were also more likely to report having a positive mentoring alliance in the increasing relative to the decreasing group. We found that mentor personality traits play an important role in how mentors perceive their ability to serve as a mentor, which may have implications for mentor recruitment and training in programs designed for at-risk youth.


Mentoring Self-efficacy Risk Adolescents Preventive intervention 



This study was funded by William T Grant Foundation.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Allen, T. D. (2003). Mentoring others: A dispositional and motivational approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior,62, 134–154. Scholar
  2. Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2009). The HEXACO-60: A short measure of the major dimensions of personality. Journal of Personality Assessment,91, 340–345. Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentive perspective. Annual Review of Psychology,52, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer, D. J. (2007). Observations on the use of growth mixture models in psychological research. Multivariate Behavioral Research,42, 757–786. Scholar
  6. Caprara, G. V., Alessandri, G., Giunta, L. D., Panerai, L., & Eisenberg, N. (2009). The contribution of agreeableness and self-efficacy beliefs to prosociality. European Journal of Personality,24, 36–55. Scholar
  7. Cavell, T. A., Elledge, L. C., Malcolm, K. T., Faith, M. A., & Hughes, J. N. (2009). Relationship quality and the mentoring of aggressive, high-risk children. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology,38, 185–198. Scholar
  8. Conard, M. A., & Matthews, R. A. (2008). Modeling the stress process: Personality eclipses dysfunctional cognitions and workload in predicting stress. Personality and Individual Differences,44, 171–181. Scholar
  9. Converse, N., & Lignugaris-Kraft, B. (2009). Evaluation of a school-based mentoring program for at-risk middle school youth. Remedial and Special Education,30, 33–46. Scholar
  10. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Four ways five factors are basic. Personality and Individual Difference,13, 653–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DuBois, D. L., Portillo, N., Rhodes, J. E., Silverthorn, N., & Valentine, J. C. (2011). How effective are mentoring programs for youth? A systematic assessment of the evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest,12, 57–91. Scholar
  12. Duffy, R. D., & Lent, R. W. (2009). Test of a social cognitive model of work satisfaction in teachers. Journal of Vocational Behavior,75, 212–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Faith, M. A., Fiala, S. E., Cavell, T. A., & Hughes, J. N. (2011). Mentoring highly aggressive children: Pre-post changes in mentors’ attitudes, personality, and attachment tendencies. The Journal of Primary Prevention,32, 253–270. Scholar
  14. Grossman, J. B., Chan, C. S., Schwartz, S. E. O., & Rhodes, J. E. (2012). The test of time in school-based mentoring: The role of relationship duration and re-matching on academic outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology,49, 43–54. Scholar
  15. Hagenaars, J. A., & McCutcheon, A. L. (2002). Applied latent class analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Herrera, C., DuBois, D. L., & Grossman, J. B. (2013). The role of risk: Mentoring experiences and outcomes for youth with varying risk profiles. New York, NY: A Public Project Distributed by MDRC.Google Scholar
  17. Ivcevic, Z., & Brackett, M. (2014). Predicting school success: Comparing conscientiousness, grit, and emotion regulation ability. Journal of Research in Personality,52, 29–36. Scholar
  18. John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research,2(1999), 102–138.Google Scholar
  19. Judge, T. A., Jackson, C. L., Shaw, J. C., Scott, B. A., & Rich, B. L. (2007). Self-efficacy and work-related performance: The integral role of individual differences. Journal of Applied Psychology,92, 107–127. Scholar
  20. Jung, T., & Wickrama, K. A. S. (2008). An introduction to latent class growth analysis and growth mixture modeling. Social and Personality Psychology Compass,2, 302–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Karcher, M. J., Nakkula, M. J., & Harris, J. (2005). Developmental mentoring match characteristics: Correspondence between mentors’ and mentees’ assessments of relationship quality. The Journal of Primary Prevention,26, 93–110. Scholar
  22. Larose, S. (2013). Trajectories of mentors’ perceived self-efficacy during an academic mentoring experience: What they look like and what are their personal experimental correlates? Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning,21, 150–174. Scholar
  23. Lee, T. W., & Ko, Y. K. (2009). Effects of self-efficacy, affectivity and collective efficacy on nursing performance of hospital nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing,66, 839–848. Scholar
  24. Liang, B., Lund, T. J., & Mousseau, A. M. D. (2016). The mediating role of engagement in mentoring relationships and self-esteem among affluent adolescent girls. Psychology in the Schools,58, 848–860. Scholar
  25. Lo, Y., Mendell, N. R., & Rubin, D. B. (2001). Testing the number of components in a normal mixture. Biometrika,88, 767–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Masten, A. S., Burt, K. B., & Coatsworth, J. D. (2006). Competence and psychopathology in development. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Risk, disorder, and adaptation (2nd ed., pp. 696–738). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  27. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2017). Mplus user’s guide (8th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Author.Google Scholar
  28. Ng, K. Y., Ang, S., & Chan, K. Y. (2008). Personality and leader effectiveness: A moderated mediation model of leadership self-efficacy, job demands, and job autonomy. Journal of Applied Psychology,93, 733–743. Scholar
  29. Parra, G. R., DuBois, D. L., Neville, H. A., Pugh-Lilly, A. O., & Povinelli, N. (2002). Mentoring relationships for youth: Investigation of a process-oriented model. Journal of Community Psychology,30, 367–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Raposa, E. B., Rhodes, J. E., & Herrera, C. (2016). The impact of youth risk on mentoring relationship quality: Do mentor characteristics matter? American Journal of Community Psychology,57, 320–329. Scholar
  31. Riggs, M. L., Warka, J., Babasa, B., Bentacourt, R., & Hooker, S. (1994). Development of validation of self-efficacy and outcome expectancy scales for job-related applications. Educational and Psychological Measurement,54, 793–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sclove, S. L. (1987). Application of model-selection criteria to some problems in multivariate analysis. Psychometrika,52, 333. Scholar
  33. Shirk, S. R., & Saiz, C. C. (1992). Clinical, empirical, and developmental perspectives on the therapeutic relationship in child psychotherapy. Development and Psychopathology,4(4), 713–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Thalmayer, A. G., Saucier, G., & Eigenhuis, A. (2011). Comparative validity of brief to medium length big five and big six personality questionnaires. Psychological Assessment,23, 995–1009. Scholar
  35. Turban, D. B., & Lee, F. K. (2007). The role of personality in mentoring relationships: Formation, dynamics, and outcomes. In B. R. Ragins & K. E. Kram (Eds.), The handbook of mentoring at work: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 21–50). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Weiler, L. M., & Taussig, H. N. (2017). The moderating effect of risk exposure on an efficacious intervention for maltreated children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Improve GroupSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Social ScienceUniversity of Minnesota Twin CitiesSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations