Methods: The data for this study comes from a mentoring program called Campus Connections (CC). It is hypothesized that adolescents who develop a high-quality relationship with their mentor during the CC program will be less likely to engage in alcohol use compared to youth who develop a low-quality relationship with their mentor. Mentees self-reported their perception of the Mentor Relationship Quality (MRQ) using the Cavell et al. (2009) Mentor Alliance Scale (α = 0.86) at the end of the mentoring program. Mentees also self-reported the number of days in the last 30 days that they used alcohol at baseline and end of program. A negative binomial regression model was used to estimate the association between MRQ and alcohol use at the end of the CC program, controlling for baseline use and a set of confounders (gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status).
Results: Adjusting for baseline alcohol use and relevant potential confounders, the expected days of alcohol use was 57% lower for each one unit increase in MRQ.
Conclusions: Consistent with prior research, mentor relationship quality is associated with better outcomes for adolescents. While engaging in a mentoring program may be beneficial, having a strong alliance and relationship quality within the dyad appears to be more favorable. Methods to enhance relationship quality are needed, and effective strategies may substantially enhance the effectiveness of mentoring interventions, including reductions in substance use for participating adolescents. Further research could explore specific aspects of the dyadic relationship to determine specific components that influence the mentor relationship quality. Findings may be used to enhance mentoring programs to further reduce alcohol misuse among adolescents.