Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Young, William H.

Keywords

model, sports, protégé, transition, freshmen, university

Abstract

Mentoring programs often focus on assisting students with the transition to college life and encouraging academic success. This study consisted of a quantitative examination of faculty and peer mentoring and freshmen student athletes' perceived transitional stress and social support. Surveys that provided a numerical value to perceived stress and social support supplied a basis for comparison. In addition, a qualitative element, consisting of personal interviews, was used to assess the quality of the mentoring relationships that developed. Volunteer mentors were trained on mentoring strategies by the researcher.

Sixty-one student-athlete volunteers from the sports of baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, competitive dance, football, golf, rowing, soccer, track and field, and volleyball were divided into two groups with similar high school grade point averages. Thirty-one of these student athletes were then randomly assigned to peer mentors and 30 were assigned to faculty mentors. Stress and social support were measured three times during a 16-week semester and the data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance. No significant differences were found in the perceived stress levels of student athletes mentored by faculty versus peers. However, stress levels were found to significantly increase between the beginning and the end of the semester. Regarding social support derived from friends, no significant difference was found in the perceived level of social support received from friends.

However, students mentored by faculty perceived significantly more social support from their mentor than that perceived in the peer-mentored group. No effects for race or gender were found with either perceived stress or social support levels. This research suggests the need to investigate specific stress sources and what assistance may be provided through mentoring. Academic advisors may wish to consider alternative ways to assuage the stresses experienced by first-semester student athletes, such as reduced course loads or reduced athletic demands. The results of this study provide additional insights regarding mentoring and its effects on perceived levels of stress and social support. In addition, this research provides the building blocks for a mentoring program to assist student athletes transitioning to college.

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