First Advisor

Jose Padin

Date of Publication

Fall 1-4-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Mentoring in education -- Cross-cultural studies, Interpersonal relations -- Cross-cultural studies, College students -- Race relations, Race awareness -- Cross-cultural studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 168 pages)


Cross-race mentoring relationships are of interest to the theory and practice of mentoring and they also speak to a longstanding problem in the sociological study of prejudice. The mentoring literature reveals some disagreement regarding the advisability of cross-race matching for young protégés. Some researchers stress same-race matching, while others emphasize the problem this creates for minority's facing a dearth of mentors. Sociologists and psychologists, on the other hand, have amassed evidence showing support for a contact hypothesis, which states frequent intergroup contact between equal-status members can lead to improved perceptions of the Other. However, to date, the contact hypothesis has not been explored in the context of mentoring relationships between white adults and minority youth. This Thesis hopes to fill these gaps in the literature. The purpose of this Thesis is to better understand the perceptions and understandings mentors and protégés attach to their cross-race mentoring relationship. It is primarily concerned with identifying the conditions that lead to successful outcomes of interracial mentoring experiences. Specifically, this study explores the perceptions of white adult mentors and black and Latino protégés of their activities, interactions, and their views on the advantages and drawbacks of their cross-race mentoring relationship. This study explores mentors and protégés in cross-race mentoring relationships to grasp a better idea of the meanings each mentoring partner attaches to their mentoring experience. Respondents are sampled from one formal mentoring program at a four-year university. Nine mentors and eleven protégés are interviewed following a semi-structured format. From this sample of twenty participants, six complete pairs participated. The remaining seven respondents make up the supplemental data group, as their mentoring partner did not participate in this study. This study suggests that the intergroup contact theory is useful in explaining the outcomes of these cross-race mentoring relationships. Not only does this Thesis support the intergroup contact theory, it also broadens our understanding by painting a more complete picture of how the optimal conditions emerge and work to strengthen and reinforce one another. Additionally, this research highlights how important understanding both the in-group and out-group member's perceptions are when exploring cross-race mentoring relationships and the intergroup contact theory. Finally, this study supports the notion that a mentoring program's structure is an important feature that can greatly enhance or inhibit mentoring bonds between mentors and protégés.


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