ABSTRACT: The Characteristics of Unsuccessful E-Mentoring Relationships for Youth With Disabilities
Recently, researchers have focused on the benefits of e-mentoring for young people with disabilities, such as greater access to sources of information and support. Relatively few researchers have explored the problem of unsuccessful e-mentoring relationships, i.e., mentors and mentored individuals who withdraw from an e-mentoring program before completion. Our findings promote understanding of the dynamics of unsuccessful vs. successful e-mentoring relationships for youth with disabilities. Using qualitative methods, we focused primarily on negative online experiences. We compared the e-mentoring process of six “unsuccessful” pairs of mentors and mentored students who withdrew from an e-mentoring program with three exemplary “successful” pairs who fully completed the program. Our findings revealed different communication patterns in the two groups. Whereas the unsuccessful pairs used a more formal style and distant tone, the successful pairs used an informal and supportive style. We discuss these differences, including the components that are essential to success.