Opening Up: Mentor Self-Disclosure in Mentoring Relationships With Adolescents

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dc.contributor.advisor Deane, K en
dc.contributor.advisor Bullen, P en Dutton, Hilary en 2020-04-07T01:21:26Z en 2019 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Formal youth mentoring aims to promote positive outcomes for youth by facilitating supportive relationships between young people and caring non-familial adults. Evidence suggests the quality of mentoring relationships is a key contributor to effectiveness. Consequently, identifying how mentoring relationships can be enhanced has gained increasing attention. In this thesis I investigate a thus far unexplored relational process in youth mentoring research: mentor self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is a normative communication process that has been consistently linked to the development of close interpersonal relationships. Although youth mentoring is a relational intervention, little is known about the presence, practice, or effect of self-disclosure in mentoring relationships. Here, I present the first substantive work dedicated to self-disclosure in the youth mentoring literature. I used a multiple methods design to explore mentor self-disclosure using questionnaire and direct observational data across three studies. To begin, I conducted a descriptive study of mentor self-disclosure using questionnaire data gathered from 54 mentors. Findings indicate that mentors are engaging in self-disclosure across a wide range of topics, and largely perceive disclosure as a positive influence on their mentoring relationships. I then examined the link between mentor self-disclosure and relationship quality using questionnaire data from 48 mentoring dyads. Results from bivariate correlation and multiple regression analyses indicate that mentor self-disclosure makes a significant contribution to self-reported relationship quality for mentors and mentees. In the third part of my research, I used modified analytic induction to analyse 43 video-recorded interactions of mentors and mentees in conversation. The observed interactions illuminate key features of how mentors practice self-disclosure, including the use of relevant and meaningful disclosure, reciprocity of disclosure, and responsiveness to mentees. In sum, my findings reveal use of self-disclosure is widespread among mentors, provide evidence that disclosure can contribute to relationship quality, and show that mentors practice self-disclosure in distinctive ways. In addition to the thesis findings, several novel elements are included in this research. I use laboratory-based video-recorded direct observation—not before seen in youth mentoring research—to offer a new way of understanding and analysing mentor-mentee communication interactions. I also introduce two new measures to the literature. First, the Mentor Self-disclosure Instrument, a measure of mentor self-disclosure that I developed as part of my research, that is then tested and refined in two separate studies. The second new measure captures relationship quality and is distinguished from others in the field by being focused on the mentor-mentee emotional bond and appropriate for use with both mentors and mentees. In this thesis, I make the case for greater attention to communication in youth mentoring relationships. The emergent research base on relational processes is indicative of the increased focus on understanding the variable effectiveness of mentoring, and communication is at the heart of these enquiries. Communication tools, including self-disclosure, can be used purposefully and strategically by mentors to enhance their mentoring relationships. I argue that youth mentoring would benefit from developing a theoretical tool kit of communication strategies, including self-disclosure, which can form the basis of mentor training on this important topic. To achieve this, more research on communication in the mentoring context is needed. By embracing innovative research methods and an intriguing aspect of interpersonal relationships, I provide an in-depth and promising look at a neglected phenomenon in youth mentoring relationships. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Opening Up: Mentor Self-Disclosure in Mentoring Relationships With Adolescents en
dc.type Thesis en Education en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 797497 en Education and Social Work en Counselling,HumanServ &Soc.Wrk en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2020-04-07 en

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