Transformative Relationships and Empowerment

Open Access
Ford, Ebony Latasha
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Marinda Kathryn Harrell Levy, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kimberly Blockett, Honors Advisor
  • Pauline Bernadette Guerin, Faculty Reader
  • mentor
  • empowerment
  • transformative relationships
  • self-efficacy
  • community activism
  • power
  • social justice
  • role model
Two studies, one quantitative and one qualitative, were conducted to determine the link between transformative mentoring experiences and positive development later in life. Qualitatively, eight interviews were conducted with former students of a required high school course focused on building self-efficacy. Participants reported positive development later in life as a result of both their time in the course and their relationships with the course’s teachers. Participants were heavily influenced by the supportive environment of the course which was facilitated by their teachers who acted as unconventional mentors. Quantitatively, 135 college students were surveyed to examine the relationship between experiences with role models and forms of empowerment. Three forms of empowerment were measured: self-efficacy, power, and community activism. Participants were considered empowered if they had experienced an increase in their self-efficacy, feelings of power, and efforts toward activism. The results of linear regression analyses revealed that there is a significant, positive relationship between perceptions of role models and levels of self-efficacy and community activism later in life, respectively. Significance was not found for the relationship between participants' perception of role models and feelings of power later in life.