Graduate Student Mentoring Relationships: Construction of a New Scale
Stinson, Jennifer M
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Given the typical structure of graduate programs, the importance of mentoring relationships in higher education seems almost intuitive. Many programs assign academic advisors to their students upon admission; however, there are few rules to govern that relationship. Previous research has shown that a positive mentoring relationship experience in graduate school leads to more publications, greater networking ability, more career mobility and greater satisfaction with the program (Anderson, 2005). Before we are able to create “positive mentoring experiences”, we first need to understand what makes the experience positive. Creating a theoretically-derived scale geared specifically toward graduate students would allow researchers to better understand the complexities of the relationship. Administrators in higher education can then more thoughtfully construct their programs in order to take advantage of the advisor-advisee relationship. The Mentoring Effectiveness Scale (Stinson, 2012) assesses the quality of the mentoring relationship from the perspective of the protégés using five subscales: Protégé Career Development Support, Academic Subject Knowledge Support, Emotional Support, Role Model Support, and Perceived Mentor Benefits. The Mentoring Effectiveness Scale has undergone initial validation and demonstrates promising psychometric properties; however, more research is needed in order to confirm its factor structure and ensure that it is a valid measure of graduate student mentoring relationships. The purpose of the present study was to complete the next step in validation by confirming the factor structure and psychometric properties established in the initial stages of development. The following hypotheses were made: (a) results of a CFA will support the five- factor structure of the Mentoring Effectiveness Scale; (b) scores of the Mentoring Effectiveness Scale will be moderately positively correlated with the Advising Satisfaction Scale (Rice et al., 2009); (c) protégés with a male mentor will report more career development support; (d) protégés in sex-matched dyads will report more role model support; and (e) protégés in ethnicity matched dyads will report more role model support. The first hypothesis was supported, as results of a maximum likelihood Confirmatory Factor Analysis indicated that a five-factor structure was an acceptable fit to the data. Moderate positive correlations were found between Mentoring Effectiveness Scale scores and the Advising Satisfaction Scale, supporting the second hypothesis. The third hypothesis was not supported, with protégés of female mentors reporting more career development support. No significant results were found for sex or ethnicity matching with regard to the Mentoring Effectiveness Scale.