“Listening In”: Improving the Science and Practice of Mentoring Through Naturalistic Observations of Mentor–Mentee Relationships

Rachel G. Lucas-Thompson, Lindsey M. Weiler, Shelley A. Haddock, Kimberly L. Henry, Toni S. Zimmerman, Jen Krafchick, Neha Prabhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theory and empirical evidence indicate that the quality of relationships between mentors and youth is critical to determining the effects that mentoring programs have on youth participants. However, studies of mentoring programs have relied almost exclusively on self-reports of the quality of the mentoring relationship. The goals of the current paper are to discuss the limitations of exclusively relying on self-reports to measure relationship quality, argue for the necessity of incorporating naturalistic observations into measurement, and propose a specific framework for naturalistic observation and rating of these relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Mentoring
  • Naturalistic
  • Observations
  • Relationship quality
  • Self-reports

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