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78 Factors associated with successful mentor matching in an intervention study of youth violence
  1. Tyler Lennon
  1. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Statement of purpose One challenge of conducting intervention studies is ensuring that study participants complete the intervention. For instance, in our randomized controlled trial of Take Charge!, an emergency department-based, mentor-implemented and research-informed violence prevention program that partners with one-on-one community-based mentoring agencies, only 50% of intervention youth were successfully matched with a mentor. Understanding differences between those who complete the intervention and those who do not can further inform the implementation of future studies.

Methods/approach Between June 2014-June 2016, we recruited 188 assault-injured youth aged 10–15 years from two urban pediatric emergency departments (Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA). Participants were randomized to receive an intervention that included referral to Big Brothers Big Sisters for pairing with a mentor (n=98) or a comparison group that received usual care (n=90). Of the intervention group, 49 (50.0%) youth were successfully matched with a mentor. Using descriptive statistics, t-tests and chi-square analysis, we compared matched and unmatched youth with regard to demographics, time from injury to study enrollment, perceived seriousness of injury, willingness to change, risk behaviors, and a measure of household chaos.

Results Youth who were successfully matched with a mentor were more likely to perceive the injury as very serious or somewhat serious compared with unmatched youth (95.9% vs. 79.6%, p=0.028). All other factors were not significantly associated with successful mentor matching.

Conclusions Youth perception of seriousness of injury was associated with successful mentor matching in our study population. This may be related to the youth’s motivating factors for prevention of future injury.

Significance and contributions to injury and violence prevention science Ensuring that study participants complete an intervention can be challenging. Future violence prevention interventions should consider youth perceptions of injury severity or life threat as part of the motivation to complete desired interventions.

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