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Why mentor? A validation study of the volunteer functions inventory for use in youth mentoring

NCJ Number
Journal of Community Psychology Volume: 48 Issue: 3 Dated: 2020 Pages: 1040-1058
A. C. Teye; L. Peaslee
Date Published
19 pages

This study examined the functional motivations of volunteers in youth mentoring programs and tested the validity of the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) for this population.


Participants were 473 volunteer mentors matched within a one‐to‐one mentoring program. The study used a mixed‐methods approach to validate the VFI, which was administered before the match. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to test for content validity and determine fit. These were complemented by an emergent theme analysis from a semi‐structured interview, which included questions that assessed mentor motivations. Findings indicate a five‐factor structure model best captures functional motivations. In addition, results from the qualitative analysis suggest there may be previously unexplored domains to consider for contemporary volunteer populations. These include community/civic responsibility, organizational structure and reputation, and self‐concept. To expand applications, future research should refine scales that are uniquely predictive of mentor motivations. (publisher abstract modified)