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Mentoring for Youth With Disabilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2018
26 pages

This study examined research on mentoring for youth (ages 25 and younger) who have a disability, including physical, cognitive, learning, and developmental disabilities, but excluding psychiatric disabilities.


The review identified 40 studies that address the following four issues: 1) the documented effectiveness of mentoring for youth with disabilities; 2) the factors that condition or shape the effectiveness of mentoring for youth with disabilities; 3) the intervention processes that are most important for linking mentoring to outcomes for youth with disabilities; and 4) the extent to which mentoring to youth with disabilities have had outreach to such youth that is high quality and sustained over time. The findings of these studies indicate that the potential benefits of mentoring programs for youth with disabilities facilitate their positive development in the spheres of academic and career development, employment, psychosocial health and quality of life, transition, and life skills. Although various types of mentoring models were used in these studies, it is not clear which formats work best for youth with disabilities; however, the review's findings indicate that several processes mediate positive mentoring outcomes, such as self-determination, gender, and ethnicity. Some suggested improvements are mentees' increased access to mentoring activities and program materials, expansion of the age ranges of the youth served, and development of a model for their transition to independent living. Overall, the review concludes that the field of mentoring interventions for children, youth, and young adults with disabilities must move beyond qualitative research to the rigorous testing of potential mediators that are important in qualitative studies. 76 references

Date Published: October 1, 2018