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Mentors as caregivers: Development and validation of the Mentor Support Behaviors Inventory

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posted on 2024-07-01, 12:36 authored by Fanyi ZhangFanyi Zhang

Existing conceptualizations and measures of mentoring support have been criticized for conflating mentor behaviors with outcomes, lacking comprehensiveness, and lacking theoretical integration with relationship science. This research presents the development and validation of the Mentor Support Behaviors Inventory (MSBI), a new measure of mentor support grounded in attachment theory. Study 1 used a qualitative analysis of interviews and open-ended responses and identified eight behavioral themes reflecting three higher-order mentor support dimensions: Safe Haven (Counseling, Protecting), Secure Base (Training, Coaching, Promoting), and Close Esteem (Responding, Personalizing, Affirming). These dimensions aligned with the Safe Haven and Secure Base support tenets of attachment theory and integrates the literatures on responsiveness. In Study 2, an initial pool of 128 items was developed based on the qualitative findings. 122 working adults sorted them into mentoring behaviors versus relationship quality, mentoring effectiveness, and mentoring climate constructs. The results provided moderate to strong evidence of content validity, with the MSBI items performing better than existing mentoring measures. The MSBI offers a comprehensive, theory-driven assessment of specific observable mentor behaviors across diverse supportive contexts, addressing calls to elucidate the behavioral mechanisms underlying effective mentoring relationships. Implications for mentoring theory and practice are discussed.

History

Degree Type

  • Master of Science

Department

  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Melissa Robertson

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Louis Tay

Additional Committee Member 2

Yk Hei “Franki” Kung

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