Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $482,618)
This program seeks to enhance what is understood about mentoring as a prevention and intervention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or already involved in the juvenile justice system. This program funds research studies that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. OJJDP expects that the results of this effort will encourage a more effective utilization of resources and enhance the implementation of evidence-based best practices for juvenile mentoring.
A substantial amount of research has been conducted on factors that influence the length and outcomes of mentoring matches, including program characteristics, youth characteristics and attitudes, and mentor-mentee relationship quality. Research also suggests that the response of youth to a mentoring program is moderated by parent, family, and community level factors. However, little research has been conducted to date on the influence of parent/guardian and other family-level factors as moderators of mentoring program outcomes. The Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (PIRE), in partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters-Kentuckiana (BBBS-KY), seeks to understand how three types of parent/guardian-level variables (psychosocial parent/family characteristics, parent engagement in the mentoring match, and parenting style) influence the quality and length of mentoring matches and youth outcomes.
The primary study populations will be at-risk youth participating in the BBBS-KY programs in the metro Louisville area, along with their parents/guardians. A secondary study population will be volunteer mentors matched with the at-risk youth. 350 matches in the BBBS-KY community-based and site-based programs will participate and be tracked for 12 months.
The proposed project has two goals. Goal 1: To assess parental/family characteristics, dynamics of relationships between parents/guardians and youth, levels of parental involvement in BBBS-KY matches, and the dynamics of parental involvement in matches. Goal 2: To assess the impact of parental/family characteristics, dynamics of relationships between parents/guardians and youth, levels of parental involvement in BBBS-KY matches, and the dynamics of parental involvement in matches on match length and strength and on youth outcomes.
Intermediate outcomes include match length and strength. Other key outcomes include youth risk and protective factors such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, parent/child bonding, friends/peer use of drugs, peer support/social acceptance, educational aspirations, attitudes toward risky behaviors, family conflict, and family/neighborhood attachment. The researchers also will measure youth behaviors and achievement, including drug/alcohol use, delinquency, school attendance, school disciplinary referrals, and grades.