Mentoring Statistics and Research

Research confirms what we know anecdotally or intuitively — that mentoring works.

The 2013 study “The Role of Risk: Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles,” examined mentoring program relationships, experiences and benefits for higher-risk youth, and among the findings determined:

  • The strongest program benefit, and most consistent across risk groups, was a reduction in depressive symptoms — a particularly noteworthy finding given that almost one in four youth reported worrisome levels of these symptoms at baseline.
  • Findings also suggested gains in social acceptance, academic attitudes and grades.
  • In addition to benefits in specific domains, mentored youth also experienced gains in a greater number of outcomes than youth in the comparison group.

Overall, the study’s results suggest that mentoring programs can be beneficial for youth with a broad range of backgrounds and characteristics. Tailoring the training and support that is available to matches based on the specific risks youth face has the potential to produce even stronger benefits.

A Public/Private Ventures project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and distributed by MDRC, the study involved more than 1,300 youth, drawn from seven programs serving young people in Washington State. Oversight and support for the project were provided by Washington State Mentors.

View the Full Study

View the Executive Summary

This report builds on existing research, including a research brief published by Child Trends and titled "Mentoring: A Promising Strategy for Youth Development" found that youth who participate in mentoring relationships experience a number of positive benefits.

  • In terms of educational achievement, mentored youth have better school attendance; a better chance of going on to higher education; and better attitudes toward school.
  • In terms of health and safety, mentoring appears to help prevent substance abuse and reduce some negative youth behaviors.
  • On the social and emotional development front, taking part in mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and relationships. Mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them.