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OJJDP-Funded Research in Brief: Prediction and Prevention of Premature Closures of Mentoring Relationships: The Study To Analyze Relationships (STAR Project)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2018
1 page
This report summarizes the findings, design, and policy/practice implications of a study of how participant characteristics, dyadic processes, and program practices contributed to premature match closures in a sample of juvenile mentoring programs; and it also examined the way in which mentoring programs managed the match closure process.
Findings show that approximately 30 percent of the new matches ended before the 12-month commitment specified in the program model, and 67 percent closed during the extended study period. The majority of closures (64 percent) were attributed to the mentors, most often because they moved their residence or they experienced time constraints. Mentors' and youths' parents' pre-match expectations regarding the desired length of the match predicted the likelihood of the match continuing over time. Interviews with participants in a subsample of closed matches highlighted the importance of the mentor-youth connection and positive relationships among the involved adults who supported the match. Also, post-closure data indicated that very few matches closed with a formal procedure. Baseline surveys of mentors, youth, parents, and staff provided data for survival analyses that predicted relationship length; and post-closure survey of these participants provided multiple perspectives on the mentoring experience and reasons for closure. The study concludes that any strained relationships among parents, mentee, mentors, and program staff due to miscommunication, cultural misunderstanding, or misaligned expectations can threaten a match and lead to early closure. 1 resource listing.

Date Published: January 1, 2018