Predictors of Premature Match Closure in Youth Mentoring Relationships

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Journal: American Journal of Community Psychology

Although mentoring is a popular and effective means of intervention with youth, the positive effects of mentoring can be diminished by premature match closure of relationships. Program, mentor, and mentee characteristics were examined as predictors of premature match closure. Secondary data analyses were conducted on a large national database of mentoring programs consisting of match and youth risk information from 170 mentoring programs and 6468 matches from across the U.S. Premature closure was associated with mentee age at match inception and 19 individual mentee characteristics. The set of mentee characteristics were examined as part of a cumulative risk index encompassing seven conceptually combined categories including family background characteristics, school functioning problems, engagement in risky health behaviors, self-regulation difficulties, engagement in illegal or criminal activities, and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Both the age of mentees when matched and the cumulative risk index score significantly predicted premature closure. Results are discussed in terms of directions for future research and suggestions for enhancing mentoring program practices.

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