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The influence of mentor relationship quality and youth's sense of belonging on adolescent substance use




Fredrickson, Gereon J., author
Prince, Mark, advisor
Henry, Kimberly, advisor
Krafchick, Jen, committee member
Tompkins, Sara Anne, committee member

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Objective: Adolescent substance use (alcohol, cannabis, and nicotine) is a public health concern that negatively impacts youth and their ability to successfully navigate through life. Mentoring is an intervention tool used to reduce problem behaviors in adolescents, and research suggests that the mentoring relationship quality and a youth's sense of belonging within a mentoring program may be crucial to its effectiveness. The proposed study seeks to examine mentorship quality and youths' sense of belonging as they relate to adolescent substance use in a secondary data analysis of Campus Connections and explore sustained abstinence in substance use between mentee and mentor reports of mentor alliance. Method: 680 adolescent mentees participated in Campus Connections and completed a survey at the beginning and end of the program which assessed for substance use, mentor alliance, and their sense of belonging in the program. To account for abstinence, the data was subsetted to only include mentees that reported no substance use at baseline. 526 mentees were used in analyses. Firth logistic regression models were used to address the study's hypotheses. Results: A high-quality mentee reported relationship was associated with decreased odds of using substances at follow-up. Similarly, as a mentee's reported sense of belonging increased, the odds of them using substances at follow-up decreased. Lastly, there was a significant difference between the mentee and mentor reported relationship quality where the mentee report was a stronger predictor of sustained abstinence at study end. Conclusion: This study established a relationship between mentor alliance and youth's sense of belonging as a preventative method for continued abstinence. Understanding the factors within mentoring that contribute to positive outcomes for youth can help further develop mentoring as an intervention and improve techniques to maximize effectiveness. In addition, these findings may inform intervention and treatment recommendations that include mentoring and encourage future researchers to explore additional factors that contribute to mentoring successfulness in positively impacting adolescent substance use.


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