Document Type


Journal or Conference Title

American Journal of Community Psychology



First Page


Last Page


Publication Date





Attending college is increasingly important to compete in this global world; however, young people whose parents did not attend college are significantly less likely to enroll in and finish college. Formal programs to support first-generation college goers are common, but not scalable to provide support to all young people who need it. Instead, mentoring that naturally occurs on these students' journeys into and out of college may be a more practical avenue for supporting their success. This study investigated the role community members, relatives, and educators play in first-generation college goers' educational outcomes. Data from 4,181 participants of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health were used to test differences in supports received between first-generation, continuing-generation, and non-college goers. Results demonstrated that mentorship in adolescence moderated the relationship between parental college attendance and educational attainment in adulthood. Next, findings suggested that first-generation students received less support for identity development from their mentors than continuing-generation students. This study has program implications for facilitating college attendance and fostering the development and success of first-generation students. Moreover, this project continues to concretize an emerging taxonomy of mentoring functions for youth and emerging adults.


Copyright © Society for Community Research and Action 2018

Publisher Statement

Originally published as Fruiht, V., & Chan, T. (2018). Naturally Occurring Mentorship in a National Sample of First‐Generation College Goers: A Promising Portal for Academic and Developmental Success. American journal of community psychology.

PubMed ID


Available for download on Sunday, March 01, 2020