Mentoring, Goal Orientation, Training, Computer-Mediated Communication


The purpose of the current study was to examine the effectiveness of preparatory training for mentors and proteges with respect to relationship processes and outcomes. Specifically, it was proposed that training provided to mentors and their proteges should foster a high learning goal orientation and a low avoid goal orientation. The former is associated with learning for the sake of continuous improvement and the latter is associated with a willingness to be perceived by others as having failed at a task. It was hypothesized that mentors and proteges who received goal orientation training prior to beginning their formal mentoring sessions would engage in greater feedback-seeking and would be more willing to self-disclose potentially ego-threatening information. Moreover, it was expected that training would also lead participants to expect such behaviors from their partners and as a result respond more positively when the desired behaviors were demonstrated. Eighty (i.e., first and second semester freshmen) were paired with eighty mentors (i.e., college juniors and seniors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0), resulting in a total of 160 study participants. All participants received one hour of preparatory training. A two by two factorial design was employed whereby mentors and proteges each received either goal orientation training or training simply designed to orient them to computer-mediated communication. After training, mentors and proteges met with one another using online chat for four, 30-minute weekly chat sessions. Results indicated that a) proteges in a high state of avoid goal orientation felt they received less psychosocial support the more their mentor disclosed his/her own personal downfalls, b) mentors who received goal orientation training felt they had provided greater career support the more their proteges sought feedback but the reverse was true for mentors who did not receive goal orientation training, c) mentor self-disclosure was more strongly related to their protege's self-disclosure if the protege had received goal orientation training, and finally d) mentor and protege perceptions of the psychosocial and career support that had been provided/received during online sessions were more strongly correlated if the two had received the same type of preparatory training (especially if both received goal orientation training).


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Graduation Date



Smith-Jentsch, Kimberly


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

August 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Psychology Commons