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“Interracial Mentorship Outcomes” by Leitner Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: Sep 20th, 2022

Type and Purpose of the Research

The specific type of study was experimental, which is a form of study research in which scholars measure the statistical relationship between variables when manipulating some of them and determining the outcomes of the manipulation. The researchers reasoned that strategies intended to reduce negative affect and boost rapport can improve interracial relationships between mentors and their mentees (Leitner, Ayduk, & Mendoza-Denton, 2018). By using video chats and face-to-face interviews, the scholars changed the degree of participants mutual self-disclosure with the goal of obtaining an improvement of rapport and affect indicators.

The study’s purpose was to understand how mentors and mentees within an interracial environment could improve their relationships. This objective is particularly relevant to the interracial relationships because of the previous research indicating that the quality of connections in same-race mentoring was higher than in interracial ones. In addition, the issue of underrepresentation also played a role in defining the study’s purpose as the management and professoriate staff has shown to lack the representatives of racial minorities. Therefore, many mentees of color will have to receive mentorship from white instructors, which may complicate their relationships and limit the desired outcomes of mentorship.

Taking into account previous work, the researchers identified that negative affect and poor rapport among individuals were the key contributors to poor mentorship relationships; however, little information is available as to the strategies that can help solve the issues (Leitner et al., 2018). The main research question formulated for the study was whether the performance of mentees and the feedback provided by mentors in interracial mentoring dyads could improve as a result of decreasing negative affect and increasing rapport between the two individuals.

Framework

The conceptual framework used by the researchers was concerned with the understanding of the impact of rapport and negative affect on interracial mentoring relationships. Negative affect, which is defined as unpleasant or subjective feelings or mood, could present significant limitations to the mentoring process. For example, mentors may exhibit prejudice or racial stereotyping targeted at their mentees, and any constructive criticism would be interpreted as a negative affect in the eyes of an individual of color. In addition, the mere anticipation of being negatively perceived due to race is a significant contributor to adverse psychological outcomes. Rapport represents the degree to which individuals feel a sense of closeness and interconnectedness, and the researchers suggested that it might be lower among interracial dyads.

The theoretical framework was applied through adjusting the different levels of affect and rapport within interracial mentorship dyads to determine whether such changes would improve the quality of relationships. In alignment with the theoretical framework introduced in the study, the researchers modeled poor affect as a parallel mediator while baseline negative affect represented the control variable. By doing so, it was possible to increase participants’ self-disclosure as a predictor of increased rapport, which subsequently increased positive feedback and warmth within interracial mentorship dyads.

Methodology

The researchers aimed to determine the correlation between rapport and affect and mentorship relationships within interracial dyads. To reach the aim, experimental research was conducted, which implies a methodology that adheres specifically to scientific study design. This research design calls for the formulation of a hypothesis, the identification of a variable that can be manipulated and variables that can be measured, compared, or calculated. The research design of the study aligns with the experimental methodology because the scholars operated within a controlled environment and were the ones to manipulate the variables.

Three studies were carried out in the research to address different goals and measurements. Study 1 included 155 participants recruited from the Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics’ Panel. The participants targeted for the study identified either as Black or Latino. After the baseline measure completion, the participants were asked to take part in an experiment during which they would assume the roles of students and to perform a speech to be later assessed by a mentor.

In study 2, there were 144 participants identifying as White, taking the role of mentors that would provide online feedback to the speeches performed by the participants from Study 1. In study 3, 116 participants were recruited from a pool of students of an introductory psychology course to make up 58 dyads. Study 3 intended to examine whether, within face-to-face interracial mentorship environment, positive affect and rapport among mentees and their mentors would have the same implications an in the previous two studies.

As methods of data analysis, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were carried out. ANOVA is a statistical method used for checking if the means of two or more groups are significantly different from one another. The approach is important for allowing to identify the influence of one or more factors through comparing the means of different samples, as applied to Study 1, Study 2, and Study 3 of the research. ANCOVA, on the other hand, is a combination of an ANOVA and regression analysis. Its use is attributed to the examination of the influence of an independent variable on the dependent one while the effect of the covariance factor is being removed.

Findings and Conclusions

Across three experiments implemented by the researchers, the increased rapport through self-disclosure and the decreased negative affect were associated with mentees’ improved performance as well as more helpful and positive feedback for mentors. These findings are central to the study because they show that a good quality of mentorship could lead to the improved professional and personal growth of trainees, with interracial mentorship becoming widely common in many domains. The researchers confirmed that their results were consistent with the available studies on the same topic that pointed out that an overall positive rapport and affect would benefit mentorship relationships within interracial dyads.

The research concluded that such factors as affect and rapport were both essential components of mentoring connections as shown in both online and face-to-face settings. Such results can be used as a starting framework for future interventions and research intended to enhance both the performance and retention of individual groups that have been either under- or misrepresented historically. Such interventions could result in an effective workforce that can meet the needs and demands of a highly diversified society.

Evaluation

The limitation of the study addressed by the researcher is linked to the fact that only a certain number of mentorship dyads was possible to study, which means that over an extended period of time, the quality of relationships within a mentorship dyad. It is essential for future studies to examine how the phenomena explored in the research by Leitner et al. (2018) would progress and change over time. Unexpectedly, the researchers found no observed advantages on reducing negative affect for mentors’ quality of feedback or benefits of rapport for the overall performance of mentees. Future studies may address these limitations while also considering the gender differences in mentors and mentees since the current research did not explore how gender impacts the nature of relationships within mentorship dyads.

The study supports the findings of research available on the topic of interracial mentorship when it comes to the impact of specific relationship characteristics on the effectiveness of a mentorship program. Importantly, the research allows for the understanding as to how the potential benefits of mentorship relationships, considering the availability of supporting evidence regarding the quality of mentorships being better in same-race dyads. The unique look on the nature of mentorships and the considerations of positive rapport and affect among mentors and mentees reveals the strategies that it is possible to implement strategies that would improve the relationships, creating a favorable environment for the training and information exchange.

The usefulness of the study for the personal research purpose is attributed to the possibility of using the findings in the exploration of how the mentoring of African American females occurs in the context of federal government and senior leadership positions. Both affect and rapport, which were found to contribute to the relationships between interracial mentors and mentees, should be considered as important barriers or facilitators of African American females’ mentorship, especially when it comes to the risks of racial prejudice or stereotyping. In addition, the findings of the research support the opportunity to study the perceptions of real women within the context of interracial and inter-gender mentorship.

Reference

Leitner, J. B., Ayduk, O., & Mendoza-Denton, R. (2018). Reducing negative affect and increasing rapport improvement on interracial mentorship outcomes. PloS One, 13(4), e0194123. Web.

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