This study examined whether a history of negative behavior among peers in mentoring groups exacerbated individual participants' behavior problems.
Group mentoring programs foster supportive relationships and constructive feedback between mentors and peers. Given the power of peer influence to promote adaptive or harmful outcomes, it is important to evaluate peer influence in group mentoring. Using a sample of 239 ninth grade participants in a group mentoring program, multilevel regression assessed group-level influence on suspensions and truancy using school administrative data records. The association between exposure to peers with a history of problem behaviors and outcomes did not reach statistical significance for either outcome. The results suggest that grouping youth with a history of poor attendance and suspensions did not inherently increase the risk for either outcome. Further evaluation of potential peer contagion effects and publication of nonsignificant results will help build literature to determine the likelihood of harmful outcomes for group mentoring. (Publisher abstract provided)
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