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An Investigation of Same- Versus Cross-Gender

Stella S. Kanchewa , Jean E. Rhodes , Sarah E. O. Schwartz & Lauren E. W. Olsho


July 25, 2014
Although assigned mentoring relationships have typically involved same-gender
matches, a growing number of programs, particularly those in schools, have begun pairing
female mentors with male mentees. This practice stems, in large part, from the relative
dearth of male mentors and programs’ efforts to increase the availability of youth
mentoring to young males on waiting lists. We drew on secondary data from the two
largest random assignment evaluations of school-based mentoring programs, the
Department of Education’s Student Mentoring Program and Big Brothers Big Sisters of
America’s School-based Mentoring, to explore the characteristics and effects of same versus
cross-gender mentoring relationships for male mentees. Our sample included
1,513 male youth from the respective programs. With only a few exceptions, male youth
in same- versus cross-gender mentoring relationships experienced similar relationship
processes and outcomes. Implications for research and practice are discussed along with
limitations including the nonexperimental design of the study and unmeasured effects
of selection bias.
Focus Areas
North America