Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Rodger Bufford, PhD

Second Advisor

Mark McMinn, PhD

Third Advisor

Winston Seegobin, PsyD


Adolescents benefit from relationships with meaningful adult mentors in many ways (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). The quality of mentoring relationships is an essential mediating factor (Pryce & Keller, 2012). Particular relationship activities may influence the relationship’s success (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). However, few studies have considered the role of Christian faith in the relationship and outcomes of mentoring (Lanker & Issler, 2010).

The current study sought to identify effective characteristics of naturally occurring youth relationships with Christian adult mentors. It examined differences in life adjustment between adolescents with and without Christian mentors, the role of the mentoring relationship quality in predicting those differences, and the moderating role of various relational activities.

Participants included 166 adolescents aged 13-18 in grades 9-12 attending a private Christian school and an evangelical church. The presence and importance of mentors was determined through a series of questions (Greenberger, Chen, & Beam, 1998). Depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (“Screening and case finding,” 2015); life satisfaction was measured using the Life Satisfaction Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985); and religious commitment was evaluated using a single-item question (Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989). Relationship quality was appraised using the Experiences in Close Relationships - Relationship Structures Questionnaire (Fraley, Heffernan, Vicary, & Brumbaugh, 2011). Mentoring relationship activities were assessed with an 11-item self-report measure developed for this study. Data were analyzed using independent sample t-tests, Pearson’s r, and multiple linear regression.

Students with mentors were significantly less depressed, more satisfied, and more committed to their faith than students without mentors. Mentoring relationship quality was correlated negatively with mentee depression, and positively with life satisfaction and religious commitment. Relationships were moderated by the importance mentees placed on having fun with their mentors, jointly engaging in a meaningful, broader social context, studying the Bible or related books together, praying together, having meaningful conversations, and technologybased communication, as well as duration of the mentoring relationship. Results generally complement those of Lanker (2012; Lanker & Issler, 2010); positive adolescent adjustment is associated with Christian adults coming alongside youth to develop secure, supportive, and longterm relationships marked by certain important activities.

Included in

Psychology Commons