College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-13-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Nathan Todd

Second Advisor

Bernadette Sanchez


In the current study we use Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological theory to guide an inquiry into how the social environment surrounding mentors’ matters in regards to mentor outcomes of satisfaction, retention, and extra-role pro-social behavior (i.e., mentors willingness to go above and beyond for their mentee or the mentoring program). Mentors are sampled from mentoring organizations across the United States. Drawing from Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory (1979), we examine mentors embedded in distinct micro- and macrosystems. At the microsystem level we explore how the relationship between the mentor and the (a) mentee, (b) mentees’ family, and (c) the mentoring team may predict mentoring outcomes. At the level of the macrosystem we test how mentor’s structural understandings of White privilege and outgroup disadvantage predict mentor outcomes. We also examine how blaming the mentee for shortcomings rather than contextual factors may help explain the connection between micro and macrosystem factors and mentoring outcomes. Taken together, this study provides a unique and novel approach to understanding how mentor and ecological characteristics may contribute to positive mentoring outcomes.