Children, Youth, Families & Schools, Nebraska Center for Research on


Date of this Version



Published in final edited form as: Sch Soc Work J. 2022 ; 47(1): 37–71.

HHS Public Access Author manuscript Sch Soc Work J. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2023 August 18.


Research demonstrates that mentoring relationships can promote positive outcomes for youth across numerous domains, a topic of importance to school social workers. Whereas most mentoring research to date has been conducted with heterosexual cisgender youth, there is a growing body of literature that examines mentoring experiences among sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY). The purpose of this article is to conduct a systematic literature review of informal and formal mentoring experiences among SGMY. Results from twelve studies that met inclusion criteria suggested that (1) the majority of SGMY report having a mentor/role model; (2) demographics are generally unrelated to having a mentor; (3) SGMY seek out mentors with certain characteristics; (4) mentors promote positive outcomes across psychosocial, behavioral, and academic domains; and (5) mentors report varying levels of self-efficacy in mentoring SGMY and disparate motivations for becoming a mentor. Several limitations of the extant literature were identified, underscoring the need for methodologically rigorous and more inclusive research. Nevertheless, preliminary research suggests that SGMY benefit from having a mentor and that efforts are needed to safely connect SGMY to high-quality informal or formal mentors.