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Impact of mentoring on socio-emotional and mental health outcomes of youth with learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Haft, Stephanie L.1, 2
  • Chen, Tiffany3
  • Leblanc, Chloe4
  • Tencza, Francesca5
  • Hoeft, Fumiko1, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • 1 Department of Psychiatry and Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California San Francisco, 401 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley, 2121 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
  • 3 Pomona College, 333 N College Way, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
  • 4 University of Michigan, 500 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
  • 5 California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, San Diego 10455 Pomerado Rd, San Diego, CA 92131, USA
  • 6 Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) & Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, 850 Bolton Road, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
  • 7 Dyslexia Center, University of California San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA
  • 8 Haskins Laboratories, 300 George St #900, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
  • 9 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi Shinjuku Tokyo, 160-8582 Japan
Published Article
Child and adolescent mental health
Publication Date
Apr 21, 2019
DOI: 10.1111/camh.12331
PMID: 31649490
PMCID: PMC6812582
PubMed Central
  • Article
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Background Learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often accompanied by significant socio-emotional impairments and mental health challenges. However, there is a lack of controlled, quantitative research on potential interventions to address this issue. The current study evaluated the impact of a near-peer mentoring program for youth with LD/ADHD designed to promote socio-emotional well-being. Methods Youth with LD/ADHD who participated in the mentoring program (Mentored; n =99) were compared to non-mentored youth with LD/ADHD (Control-NM; n =51) and typically-developing youth without LD/ADHD (Control-TD; n =81) pre-mentoring in the fall, and post-mentoring in the spring. Participants were assessed on self-report measures of anxiety, depression, interpersonal relations, and self-esteem. Results Youth with LD/ADHD showed significantly higher scores of depression and significantly lower scores of interpersonal relations compared to the Control-TD group at fall baseline. The depression and self-esteem scores of the Mentored group significantly decreased and increased respectively after mentoring. These changes were associated with mentee-perceived mentorship quality. The Control-NM group showed significant decreases in both self-esteem and interpersonal relations, as well as increases in depression over time, while the Control-TD group remained stable across all measures. Conclusions Results suggest that mentoring shows promise as a potential intervention for youth with LD/ADHD and co-occurring socio-emotional and mental health difficulties. The study is the first, to our knowledge, to quantify the effect of a near-peer mentoring program on youth with LD/ADHD in a design with two control groups. Implications for research and practice involving LD, ADHD, and mental health disorders are discussed.

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