Department of Educational Administration


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor James V. Griesen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Lindsay J. Hastings


The purpose of this embedded explanatory sequential mixed methods study was to examine the impact of mentoring relationships on generativity in college students. Generativity refers to concern for establishing and guiding the next generation The first, quantitative phase compared generatvity levels among general college students, college student leaders who do not mentor, and college student leaders who mentor through a program called Nebraska Human Resources Institute (NHRI) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Data were collected via surveys (N = 273) using the Loyola Generativity Scale (LGS), the Generativity Behavior Checklist (GBC), and the Personal Strivings measure. A multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that generativity levels were influenced by group membership after controlling for age, gender, G.P.A range, and major. Further analyses indicated that college student leaders who mentor (intervention group) demonstrated higher generativity than general college students in all areas of generative concern (LGS Subscales 1 – 3), generative action, and generative commitment. In comparison to other college student leaders (who do not mentor), the intervention group demonstrated higher generativity in the areas of generative concern as it relates to passing on knowledge to the next generation as well as generative commitment. College student leaders as a group (intervention group + college student leader control group) demonstrated higher generativity than general college students in the areas of generative concern as it relates to making a significant contribution to the betterment of one’s community and doing things that will have an enduring legacy as well as generative action.

The second, qualitative phase sought to explain the quantitative results by providing a richer description of the impact of mentoring relationships on generativity. Phenomenological data analysis of nine in-depth, semi-structured interviews from the intervention group revealed several textural and structural themes to explain the quantitative results. These themes indicated that the participants learned how to be generative through their “lab” experience in NHRI, even if they entered their mentoring experience with the “seed of generativity” already planted. Through their mentoring relationships, they experienced generativity by negotiating the balance between friendship and mentorship with their mentees. As a result of their mentoring experience, the participants indicated that generativity had become integrated into who they are and what they do.

The results of both the quantitative and qualitative phase were integrated while interpreting the outcomes of the full study. Based on the integrated findings, a preliminary model of generative leadership is presented. Furthermore, the integrated findings present a cogent argument for adding mentoring as a developmental antecedent for generativity and for confirming generativity as an element of college student leaders’ leadership identity.

Advisor: James V. Griesen