Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


The literature has shown that mentoring can play an important role in leadership development, yet very little has been written concerning the phenomenon of mentoring within the military. This study serves to strengthen the data base concerning the role of mentoring, specifically within the leadership of the United States Navy. The sample frame for this study consisted of all U.S. Navy Admirals who were retired from active duty by 1996. A survey instrument concerning mentor relationships was mailed to 1479 retired admirals, where the nature and function of mentoring in their careers was assessed. Admiral's descriptions of how mentor relationships were initiated, how long they lasted, important personality characteristics of mentors, and the salient benefits of mentoring were also evaluated. This study informs us that mentors have played a very important role in the lives of our nation's most successful Naval officers. A mentor was found to provide encouragement, direction, key advancement positions and opportunities for junior officers to show their potential leadership abilities. Mentors were described as senior officers who modeled integrity, professionalism and leadership skills. The duration of the mentor relationships often lasted a lifetime, only ending in retirement or death of the mentor. Of particular importance was the mentor's ability to instill the belief that the junior officer had potential and the ability to serve their country within the highest ranks. Strong support was given to more effectively facilitate the mentoring process in the U.S. Navy.

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Psychology Commons