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Psychological Bulletin © 2012 American Psychological Association

2013, Vol. 139, No. 2, 441– 476 0033-2909/13/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0029279

An Interdisciplinary Meta-Analysis of the Potential Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences of Prote´ge´ Perceptions of Mentoring



Lillian Turner de Tormes Eby

University of Georgia

Tammy D. Allen

University of South Florida




Brian J. Hoffman

University of Georgia

Lisa E. Baranik

East Carolina University




Julia B. Sauer and Sean Baldwin

University of Georgia

M. Ashley Morrison

University of Maryland




Katie M. Kinkade, Charleen P. Maher, and Sara Curtis

University of Georgia

Sarah C. Evans

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia



This meta-analysis summarized youth, academic, and workplace research on the potential antecedents (demographics, human capital, and relationship attributes), correlates (interaction frequency, relationship length, performance, motivation, and social capital), and consequences (attitudinal, behavioral, career- related, and health-related outcomes) of prote´ge´ perceptions of instrumental support, psychosocial support, and relationship quality to the mentor or to the relationship. A total of 173 meta-analytic correlations were computed based on data from 173 samples and a combined N of 40,737. Among antecedents, positive prote´ge´ perceptions were most strongly associated with greater similarity in attitudes, values, beliefs, and personality with their mentors ( ranged from .38 to .59). Among correlates, prote´ge´ perceptions of greater instrumental support ( .35) and relationship quality ( .54) were most strongly associated with social capital while prote´ge´ perceptions of greater psychosocial support were most strongly associated with interaction frequency ( .25). Among consequences, prote´ge´ perceptions of greater instrumental support ( .36) and relationship quality ( .38) were most strongly associated with situational satisfaction while prote´ge´ perceptions of psychosocial support were most highly associated with sense of affiliation ( .41). Comparisons between academic and workplace mentoring generally revealed differences in magnitude, rather than direction, of the obtained effects. The results should be interpreted in light of the methodological limitations (primarily cross-sectional designs and single-source data) and, in some instances, a small number of primary studies.


Keywords: mentoring, meta-analysis, relationships, life-span development


Mentoring is a developmentally oriented relationship between a younger or less experienced individual (the prote´ge´) and an older or more experienced individual (the mentor; Jacobi, 1991; Kram,

This article was published Online First July 16, 2012.

Lillian Turner de Tormes Eby, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia; Tammy D. Allen, Department of Psychology, University of South Florida; Brian J. Hoffman, Department of Psychology, University of Geor- gia; Lisa E. Baranik, Department of Psychology, East Carolina University; Julia B. Sauer and Sean Baldwin, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia; M. Ashley Morrison, Department of Counseling, Higher Educa- tion, and Special Education, University of Maryland; Katie M. Kinkade, Charleen P. Maher, and Sara Curtis, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia; Sarah C. Evans, Department of Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lillian Turner de Tormes Eby, University of Georgia, 228 Psychology Building, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail: leby@uga.edu

1985; Rhodes, 2005). It is a unique, idiosyncratic relationship marked by an emotional bond between mentor and prote´ge´, where the mentor offers guidance and new learning opportunities to the prote´ge´ (DuBois & Karcher, 2005; Eby, Rhodes, & Allen, 2007). The specific type of learning that occurs in a mentoring relation- ship varies. For youth it may involve learning strategies to avoid peer pressure or how to develop a better relationship with one’s parents, in academic settings it may include hands-on learning in a scientific laboratory, and in the workplace it may involve learn- ing how to network to advance one’s career.

Scholarly interest in mentoring has several historical lineages. Keller (2007) noted that formal youth mentoring programs in the United States were rooted within major social movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that drew on the charitable impulses of volunteers who wanted to assist disadvantaged youth. Sociological research further underscored the important role that mentoring plays as a protective factor for disadvantaged youth (Lefkowitz, 1987; T. Williams & Kornblum, 1985) and that men-


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toring in college settings positively impacts personal, vocational, and educational outcomes (Astin, 1977; Chickering, 1969). Ado- lescent and adult mentoring is often traced to Levinson’s (Levin- son, Darrow, Klein, Levinson, & McKee, 1978) seminal study of human development. In chronicling the lives of 40 adult men, Levinson and colleagues identified mentoring as an important developmental milestone that “facilitates the realization of the Dream” (Levinson et al., 1978, p. 98), which refers to the vision that one has about the sort of life he or she wants as an adult. Kram’s (1985) research on the influence of mentoring on employ- ees’ personal and professional development extended scholarly study of mentoring to organizational settings.

Given the broad reach of mentoring scholarship, researchers from a wide range of disciplines, such as education, social work, community psychology, developmental psychology, public health, sociology, and industrial/organizational psychology, have exam- ined the potential antecedents, correlates, and consequences of mentoring. The present research summarizes this vast literature on mentoring across the life span by conducting an interdisciplinary meta-analysis on the potential antecedents, correlates, and conse- quences of prote´ge´s’ perceptions of the mentoring relationship.




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