Someone who cares: Evaluation of school advisor programs in two community settings

Joan E. Graham, Kimberly A. Updegraff, Christine A. Tomascik, Susan M. McHale

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7 Scopus citations


We evaluated the impact of School Advisor Programs on young adolescents’ academic, psychological, and psychosocial functioning in two different settings: an urban and a rural community. These programs were expected to buffer students from the declines in functioning often observed during early adolescence through the establishment of close, supportive relationships with adults in the school setting. The design and implementation of the programs took place in the context of community-university partnerships: analysis of the implementation process highlighted the way in which programs are adjusted to the unique concerns and resources of different community settings. Participants included 157 seventh-grade students in an urban community and 118 eighth-grade students in a rural community. In the urban selling, volunteer teacher advisors met weekly with 3 to 7 students in a small group format during a regularly scheduled period of the school day. Results for this community revealed group differences favoring students in the advisor program in extracurricular activity enjoyment, grade point average (GPA), and depression. In addition, individual differences in program experiences were linked to students’ reports of their extracurricular activity enjoyment. In the rural community, teacher advisors were recruited and were responsible for coordinating individual meetings with 1 to 5 students during common free periods. Findings from the rural community revealed no group differences favoring the program group with the exception that students in the advisor program reported higher GPAs. Process data showed that the advisor program reached only a small proportion of students in this community. Discussion focuses on program and setting characteristics that may affect program implementation and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-42
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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