Reducing negative affect and increasing rapport improve interracial mentorship outcomes

PLoS One. 2018 Apr 4;13(4):e0194123. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194123. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Research suggests that interracial mentoring relationships are strained by negative affect and low rapport. As such, it stands to reason that strategies that decrease negative affect and increase rapport should improve these relationships. However, previous research has not tested this possibility. In video-chats (Studies 1 and 2) and face-to-face meetings (Study 3), we manipulated the degree of mutual self-disclosure between mentees and mentors, a strategy that has been shown to reduce negative affect and increase rapport. We then measured negative affect and rapport as mediators, and mentee performance (quality of speech delivered; Studies 1 and 3) and mentor performance (warmth and helpfulness; Studies 2 and 3) as key outcomes. Results revealed that increased self-disclosure decreased negative affect and increased rapport for both mentees and mentors. Among mentees, decreased negative affect predicted better performance (Studies 1 and 3). Among mentors, increased rapport predicted warmer feedback (Studies 2 and 3). These effects remained significant when we meta-analyzed data across studies (Study 4), and also revealed the relationship of rapport to more helpful feedback. Findings suggest that affect and rapport are key features in facilitating positive outcomes in interracial mentoring relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Mentoring* / methods
  • Mentors
  • Race Relations
  • Self Disclosure
  • Trust*

Grant support

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (nsf.gov) under Award Numbers 1306709 (to R.M. and O.A.). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.