Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Mentoring Relationships and the Self-Esteem of Black Men (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

69P (see Poster Gallery) Mentoring Relationships and the Self-Esteem of Black Men

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Tyris Gillis, MSW, Doctoral Student, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC
Background and Purpose:

The narrative surrounding Black men often paints them as a stereotypical, unvaried, label burdened group. The perpetuation of these negative perceptions have adversely affected the motivation levels of Black men. Even the practice of providing mentorship for Black men emerged, from a deficient-oriented viewpoint, as a solution to thwart negative behaviors. In fact the absence of mentors has been problematically cited as the agent for the many negative perceptions that Black men face. The concept of the “absent father” has been described as an attributing factor to the inability for some Black men to progress socially and reach educational achievement. Additionally the self-esteem of Black men has often only centered on academic settings, career obtainment, or as a response to medical conditions. There is a gap in regards to their identity solely as being Black men.

The self-esteem of Black men is often connected to other outcomes, particularly academic achievement. Research has shown that self-esteem and academic efficacy are not always correlated. Mentoring has the potential to facilitate positive identity development . This is especially true for Black boys and men. Mentorship can promote the racial identity of Black boys and the higher stage Black consciousness the higher self-esteem. The present study seeks to answer the research question: How does mentorship influence the self-esteem of Black men?


The current study analyzes secondary data from the Add Health study. Add Health, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, is a large comprehensive longitudinal survey of thousands of students that has taken place currently in five different waves. For the purposes of this study, data for Wave III was examined. Wave III, which was conducted from 2001 to 2002, is when the item H3MN1 was added. This item allowed respondents to indicate if an adult made a positive difference.

Only data from Add Health available for public use was examined. The available data was sorted to only include respondents who identified as Black/African American and male on the survey. Then respondents were further sorted into Black males who had a male identified mentor and Black males with no mentor were used as a comparison group. This study conducted a chi-square analysis of four components of self-esteem measured by Add Health.


Having a mentor was associated with higher self ratings in all four of the components of self-esteem but there was only a significant difference in two of the components. 59.4 percent of Black men with mentors strongly agreed to recognizing they had many good qualities (p < .001). A total of 62.6 percent of Black men with a mentor expressed they strongly agreed with having a lot to be proud of (p < .001).

Conclusions and Implications:

Overall, mentor relationships have an impact on the self-esteem of Black men. Efforts should be made to support mentors for this population, and further research should continue to explore the impact of different components of self-esteem and how the race of the mentor affects Black men.