Publication date: January 2020
Source: Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 108
Author(s): Grace Gowdy, Daniel P. Miller, Renée Spencer
There has been much enthusiasm in the past decade around informal mentoring (naturally occurring relationships with caring non-parental adults) as a way to promote positive outcomes for young people. This enthusiasm is motivated by empirical studies boasting positive effects and has resulted in intervention development around how to promote these relationships for young people. Both the studies and interventions, however, are restricted by a limited literature base on key differences between mentored and non-mentored young people. This article seeks to contribute to this limited literature by (1) confirming previously-tested attributes with a newly applied database and (2) using social capital to help theorize as to why some young people have this important resource and others do not. This study uses the Panel Study on Income Dynamics’ Childhood Retrospective Circumstances Study (CRCS) and a series of logistic regressions to find that demographics, family resources, and access to social capital are associated with having a mentor. Implications for both researchers and practitioners are discussed.