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Impact of Mentoring on Socio-Emotional and Mental Health Outcomes of Youth with Learning Disabilities and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

NCJ Number
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Dated: 2019 Pages: 318-328
Stephanie L. Haft; Tiffany Chen; Chloe LeBlanc; Francesca Tencza; Fumiko Hoeft
Date Published
11 pages

This paper seeks to fill an information gap regarding the efficacy of near-peer mentoring programs for youth with learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder that are designed to promote socio-emotional well-being.


Learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often accompanied by significant socio-emotional impairments and mental health challenges. However, there is a lack of controlled, quantitative research on potential interventions to address this issue. In this study, the authors evaluated the impact of a near-peer mentoring program for youth with LD/ADHD designed to promote socio-emotional well-being. The authors compared youth with LD/ADHD who participated in the mentoring program were compared to both non-mentored (Control-NM) youth with LD/ADHD and typically developing (Control-TD) youth without LD/ADHD pre-mentoring in the fall and post-mentoring in the spring. Participants were assessed using self-report measures of anxiety, depression, interpersonal relations, and self-esteem. Youth with LD/ADHD showed significantly higher scores of depression and significantly lower scores of interpersonal relations compared to the Control-TD group at fall baseline. The depression and self-esteem scores of the Mentored group significantly decreased and increased, respectively, after mentoring. These changes were associated with mentee-perceived mentorship quality. The Control-NM group showed significant decreases in both self-esteem and interpersonal relations, as well as increases in depression over time, while the Control-TD group remained stable across all measures. Results suggest that mentoring shows promise as a potential intervention for youth with LD/ADHD who experience co-occurring socio-emotional and mental health difficulties. The study is the first, to the authors’ knowledge, to quantify the effect of a near-peer mentoring program on youth with LD/ADHD in a design with two control groups. The authors also discuss implications for research and practice involving LD, ADHD, and mental health disorders. Publisher Abstract Provided