Mentoring relationship as a means to increase well-being
WORKSHOP LED BY CLAUDIA MARINO, MARISA BERGAMIN
Marisa Bergamin is the program manager of Mentor-UP, a mentoring program founded by prof. Massimo Santinello and implemented since 2010 at the dept. of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of Padova (Italy). In collaboration with prof. Santinello and other experts, she contributes to the development of a quality system of mentoring, for the implementation with university students and youth at risk. Her mentoring expertise is rooted in Mentor-UP: she has been part of Mentor-UP team since 2012. Working as a practitioner in the field of university mentoring has shaped the way she contributes to the cycle of research and practice. Her most recent interest in this area explores the impact of Service Learning in the university students.
Dr Claudia Marino earned her PhD in Psychology at the University of Padova, Italy. She is currently Research Fellow at Department of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Padova, Italy. She is visiting researcher at the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research, London South Bank University, UK. Her research interests include: evaluation of mentoring programs (i.e. Mentor-UP), problematic use of technology, and addictive behaviors. She has been collaborating with the team of Mentor-UP for the last three years as researcher.
“Mentor-UP” is a school- and community-based weekly mentoring program that has been implemented in northern Italy in last ten years. Mentors (N= about 50-60 every year) are volunteer trained university students at the University of Padova which are coupled with mentees who are at risk youths living in disadvantaged neighbourhood of the city. Mentor-UP is offered with the joint work of both psychologists/practitioners and researchers. Therefore, the shared experience of professionals will be discussed.
In this view, the aim of the presentation is twofold: first, a presentation of Mentor-UP will be provided along with best practices and specific activities of the mentoring program. Thus, insights for practitioners will be shared as well as brief story of the Mentor-UP experience in the last few years. Second, although research has shown that youth mentoring is a promising strategy for increasing positive outcomes in at-risk youth, there has been few empirical research in Italy. Therefore, we will try to explain the potential mechanism leading to decrease in behavioural problems and to increase in prosocial behaviour in mentees include in Mentor-UP in the last three years. Based on the theoretical model proposed by Rhodes (2002), a path analysis was run (N=126) in order to test the inter-related roles of several variables (i.e. the quality of mentoring relationship,
mentees’ self-esteem, neighbourhood/teacher/school connectedness) in predicting mentees’ behavioural outcomes (i.e., prosocial behaviour and behavioural problems with peers, hyperactivity and emotional symptoms). Preliminary results (Figure 1) showed that the quality of the mentoring relationship (as reported by the mentees at the end of the program) was positively associated with their perceived self-esteem at the end of program (β= .30; p<.01) controlling for the effect of perceived self-efficacy on self-esteem (β= .48; p<.01). Self-esteem, in turn, was a positive predictor of higher levels of connectedness to neighbourhood (β= .41; p<.001), teachers (β= .30; p<.05), but not of school (β= .17; p>.05). Moreover, connectedness to neighbourhood (β= .19; p<.05) and to teachers (β= .33; p<.05) appeared to increase the levels of prosocial behaviour (R2= 20%) whereas connectedness to neighbourhood (β= -.34; p<.05) decreased the levels of behavioural problems (R2= 12%) in mentees. Overall, results empirically support the theoretical model and showed the mechanism leading mentoring relationships to promoted well-being among at-risk youths. The change processes are discussed taking practitioners’ viewpoint.