Mentors’ Behavioral Profiles and College Adjustment in Young Adults Participating in an Academic Mentoring Program

January 2017

Source: International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 6 No. 1, 2017, pp. 2-18
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to identify mentor behavioral profiles associated with mentees’ perceptions of the quality of mentoring relationship, the usefulness of the mentoring, and their college adjustment during the first year of college.

The authors used a quasi-experimental design and collected data from the project Mentorat pour l’Intégration et la Réussite des Étudiants de Sciences (MIRES) (or mentoring program to increase the integration and success of science students).
The sample of this study included 253 mentees who participated in the MIRES program in 2006- 2007 and 2007-2008 (experimental groups) and 246 students in a control group.

The authors used several measures. They used the mentor behavior scale (MBS) to assess mentoring behaviors from the mentees’ perspective.
They measured the quality of the mentoring relationship (QMR) with the bonding subscale of the Working Alliance Inventory – Short Version.

They used the perceived usefulness of the mentoring to assess the mentees’ satisfaction with the mentoring experience.
Finally, the authors measured all participants for college adjustment using an adapted French version of the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire.

The analysis of the mentees’ responses to the MBS after four mentoring meetings identified four mentor behavioral profiles: Optimal, controlling, sufficient, and inadequate. The authors found that significant and sizeable differences emerged between the four profiles on the majority of the MBS scales. The authors argue that these differences indicate that despite the training and guidelines provided to the mentors, the support and structure behaviors they used with their mentees differed substantially.

The findings suggest that the support behaviors expressed by mentors in a mentoring relationship are not independent from their mentees’ attitudes, behaviors, and emotional states.
The findings also reveal that mentees who were exposed to behavioral profiles characterized by support and structure (optimal and sufficient) assessed QMR more positively compared to mentees exposed to other profiles. However, it was found that mentees exposed to the optimal and controlling profiles perceived the mentoring as equally useful and more useful compared to mentees exposed to the sufficient and inadequate profiles.
Moreover, the results show that mentees exposed to the controlling profile had lower academic adjustment in high school compared to controls, which could explain why they may have appreciated the benefits of a more directive mentor.
The findings also showed that mentees who were exposed to the optimal profile were better adjusted socially compared to controls, and that mentees exposed to the inadequate profile were less well adjusted than controls.

The authors conclude that this study identified four mentor behavioral profiles characterized by various degrees of structure, engagement, autonomy support, and competency support. The findings showed that college students exposed to these different profiles perceived the QMR differently, as well as the usefulness of mentoring and their social adjustment to college. The results show that an examination of the associations between these profiles and the students’ initial adjustment appeared to support the hypothesis that mentoring is a two-way relationship in which the mentee influences the mentor’s behaviors during the mentorship. 

Updated: May. 03, 2018