Natural mentoring and psychosocial outcomes among older youth transitioning from foster care

Michelle R. Munson, J. Curtis McMillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the non-kin natural mentoring relationships among a group of older youth in foster care (n = 339), particularly whether or not their relationships last over time. The study also examines the associations between non-kin natural mentoring relationships and psychosocial outcomes among these older youth. Results of simultaneous and hierarchical regression analyses reveal that the presence of a mentor and the duration of the relationship at age 18 are associated with better psychological outcomes, such as fewer depression symptoms, less stress and more satisfaction with life at 18 1/2. Longitudinal data collected at age 18 and 19 on mentoring revealed that of the 339 youth, 25% (n = 85) reported no mentor at either data point, 41% (n = 139) reported a short term mentor, and 34% (n = 115) reported a long term mentoring relationship. After controlling for potential covariates, multivariate analyses revealed that compared to those youth that did not nominate a mentor, youth in long term natural mentoring relationships reported less stress and were less likely to have been arrested at age 19. Further, being in long term natural mentoring relationships was not related to current employment, or past year alcohol and marijuana use. Implications for transitioning foster care youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Foster care
  • Natural mentoring
  • Older youth
  • Outcomes
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural mentoring and psychosocial outcomes among older youth transitioning from foster care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this