Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



Sunderman, H. M., & Hastings, L. J. (2023). Generativity development among college students who mentor: A sequential multi-method quantitative study. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 12(2), 145 – 161. Accepted authors’ manuscript @


Purpose Generativity, defined as care for the next generation, is a hallmark of developmental theory (Erikson, 1950). Mentoring is an antecedent to generativity (Doerwald et al., 2021), with college students who mentor demonstrating higher generativity than their peers (Hastings et al., 2015). Yet, no research has studied generativity development longitudinally among college students who mentor.

Design/methodology/approach Using MANCOVA analyses, Study One (N = 91) cross-sectionally examined the influence of years spent mentoring on generativity levels among college students who mentor in the United States. Study Two (N = 44) employed growth curve analyses (GCA) in multilevel modeling (MLM) to analyze longitudinal changes in generativity over three timepoints, each one year apart, while accounting for the influence of gender.

Findings Although the results of the MANCOVA analyses in Study One were non-significant, Study Two revealed a significant and positive increase in generative behavior. Specifically, generative behavior (e.g., teaching a skill or serving as a role model; McAdams & de St. Aubin, 1992) increased by 3.26 points, indicating that participants may have, for example, moved from performing a generative behavior never during the past two months to performing it more than once.

Originality The current study advances the fields of college student development and mentoring by arguing for the utilization of mentoring interventions among college students to increase generativity and calling for changes to generativity measurement among collegiate populations.