Mentoring works for young people at risk

A systematic review has been published by the Campbell Collaboration examining the effects of mentoring interventions on juvenile delinquency and related problems, such as school failure. The authors considered all evidence published in English between 1970 and 2011, with the final review including 164 studies that met the inclusion criteria.

The review found modest effect sizes across four outcomes: academic achievement (+0.11), drug use (+0.16), delinquency (+0.21), and aggression (+0.29). There was substantial heterogeneity in effect size across programmes for each outcome. The authors found stronger effects when emotional support and advocacy were emphasised and when professional development was the motivation of the mentors for involvement.

Although the results suggest that mentoring can be effective for high-risk teenagers, the authors highlight the fact that the studies lacked information about what exactly the mentoring programmes comprised and their implementation features. The authors say there is a critical need for concerted efforts for substantial and probably large-scale evaluations.

Source: Mentoring Interventions to Affect Juvenile Delinquency and Associated Problems: A Systematic Review (2013), The Campbell Library.

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