The Impact of BIPOC-Matched Mentoring Relationships on Youth Internalizing Mental Health Symptoms and School Engagement

Tripat K Rihal, Fordham University


Formal youth mentoring programs have the capacity to benefit youth socioemotional development, academic outcomes, well-being, and identity development. However, meta-analyses suggest that the positive effects of youth mentoring programs are widely heterogeneous, with some programs offering little to no benefits for youth. These factors are particularly important to consider for BIPOC diverse mentees, who are often paired with a mentor from a different racial background, given that volunteer mentors in youth mentoring programs are overwhelmingly white. Thus, BIPOC youth who are navigating their ethnic-racial identity development or their sense of belonging with different peers and adults at school may struggle to get the support needed from a formalized mentoring program. The present thesis used a large sample of randomized mentor-youth pairs in a nationwide mentoring program to investigate whether BIPOC membership between volunteer mentors and mentees in a formal youth mentoring program predicts youth mentoring outcomes, including internalizing symptoms such as anxiety and depression, and school liking and engagement, and whether this effect is stronger for BIPOC youth. Linear regression analyses were used to test whether BIPOC membership matched pairs showed greater improvements in these outcomes after one academic year of mentoring (i.e., the expected length of the relationship within this program). The results of this study indicated that there were no significant differences in youth internalizing symptoms and school liking and engagement for BIPOC membership matched pairs. Future studies must evaluate how they can better serve their BIPOC youth mentees, including incorporating mentor education on the stressors BIPOC youth face, as well as how ethnic-racial identity development may shape BIPOC youth experiences in formal mentoring programs.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Rihal, Tripat K, "The Impact of BIPOC-Matched Mentoring Relationships on Youth Internalizing Mental Health Symptoms and School Engagement" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30485771.