Mentor relationships during adolescent development



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Texas Tech University


An examination of mentor roles will enhance our understanding of the functional nature of the mentor-adolescent relationship. An assessment of the ways In which this relationship Is similar to or different from other relationships may Identify the unique functions of the mentor-adolescent relationship which would Indicate the unique potential It has for developmental impact.

An additional area to be explored by this research is to identify the characteristics of adolescents who have good functional relations with mentors. Adolescent characteristics of locus of control, perceived competence and communication abilities will be examined. An examination of these characteristics will give us a better understanding of the adolescent characteristics that contribute to the likelihood of this relationship developing.

The need to study these mentoring relationships is well established in the literature. The early adolescent period begins a shift from total dependence on the Immediate family system (parents, siblings) to an expansion of the adolescent's social network (Berndt, 1982). The mentor-adolescent relationship is a potentially important and unique one requiring more study.

The purpose of this research is to examine the relationships that adolescents maintain with important non-parental adults, to determine who these adults are (familial or non-familial), to describe how these non-parental adult relationships are similar to or different from other relationships, (i.e., parents and best friends), and to examine the characteristics of adolescents who have high quality or functional relationships with non-parental adults.