All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Robin Gaines Lanzi

Advisory Committee Members

Jennifer Burke Lefever

Susan Davies

Kristi Carter Guest

Connie Kohler

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health


ABSTRACT Colleges and universities have begun implementing mentoring programs to offset rising attrition rates; however, the literature on the benefits of these programs is limited particularly among community colleges with peer mentoring programs serving minority students. Further limiting our understanding of post-secondary peer mentoring programs is the lack of research on mentor’s as well as mentee’s perspectives on the mentoring experience. As mentors and mentees serve in a variety of capacities within the mentoring program, it is often difficult to identify outcomes that can be assessed within the mentoring program. Although the success of peer mentoring programs is directly affected by the mentor/mentee relationship, it is not so clearly understood how the various characteristics of the mentoring relationship play a role in the outcome of the mentoring program. Furthermore, there is scarcity in the literature concerning the mentoring relationship for underrepresented populations who endure special challenges in their post-secondary education. It is important to understand the mentoring relationship from the perspective of underrepresented populations both as mentees and mentors. To address these gaps in the literature, this dissertation focuses on studying the peer mentoring relationship in a community college from the perspective of underrepresented mentors and mentees. It includes (1) an in-depth examination of the literature on mentoring programs at institutions of higher education; (2) a mixed methods study examining the relationship between mentor training and support, mentoring activities, self-efficacy and the perceived relationship quality (PRQ) in a peer mentoring program at a community college with mentors (second year students) and mentees (first year students) via surveys (9 mentors and 51 mentees), focus groups (two focus groups with mentors (n=7, n=2) and one with mentees (n=5)), and in-depth interviews (n=3); and (3) the lessons learned from implementing a peer mentoring program at a local community college and applications for future peer mentoring programs. Findings from the mixed methods study indicate that there is a positive association between mentee eight-month PRQ and six and eight-month mentoring activities and between mentee eight-month PRQ and self-efficacy. Additionally, there was a positive association between mentor eight-month PRQ and six and eight-month mentor training and support. It was also significantly associated with mentor PRQ at six months. The qualitative analysis findings suggest multiple factors that may affect the mentor/mentee relationship, such as time, communication and participation, patience, and having an open mind. These findings may inform future studies on effective strategies when implementing mentoring programs for underrepresented populations on college campuses.

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