Mentoring relationship closures in Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring programs: Patterns and associated risk factors.


Previous research suggests that early mentoring relationship (MR) closures may have harmful consequences for the health and well-being of youth participating in community-based mentoring programs. However, knowledge of the factors that lead some MRs to close early has been slow to emerge. This study examined patterns and correlates of early versus on-time MR closures among 569 youth participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring programs. Thirty-four percent of youth experienced an early MR closure prior to the end of the program’s 12 month period of commitment. The probability of closure was highest at 12 months into the MR. Early closures were positively associated with youth gender (girls), behavioral difficulties, and match determination difficulties. Early and on-time closures were associated with youth extrinsic motives for joining the program. Early MR closures were negatively associated with youth perceptions of parent emotional support, parent social support, high quality MR, weekly contact in MR, and parent support of the MR. Implications for programming are discussed.