CitationGowdy, G. & Spencer, R. (2021). It's Who You Know That Matters: Identifying Which Type of Informal Mentor Is Most Likely to Promote Economic Mobility for Vulnerable Youth. J Prim Prev.
AbstractChildren who grow up in low-income households are likely to remain poor throughout their lives. The odds of spending a lifetime in poverty are even greater for children of color, who are more likely to be born into poverty and are less likely to be economically mobile than their White counterparts. Informal mentoring (i.e., a positive relationship with a caring, non-parental adult) has been associated with key steps towards economic mobility, such as educational attainment and workforce participation. Yet previous research also suggests that some mentors may be in a better position to promote the accumulation of these building blocks than others. Our study used data from three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a cluster analysis, and a series of logistic regressions to examine which types of mentors were associated with the promotion of upward mobility for youth most vulnerable to intergenerational persistence of poverty. Findings demonstrated that the presence of "capital" mentors, or adults who connected youth to other important relationships and resources, was associated with upward economic mobility. Our findings suggest that those who are interested in promoting economic mobility for vulnerable youth should consider investing in ways to connect youth with adults outside their immediate social networks.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJ Prim Prev