Mentor programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters can make a big difference in the lives of at-risk youth, boosting their self-esteem and reducing the chances that they’ll get involved in violence, drugs, or alcohol abuse. But the loss of a strong role model can devastate an already-disadvantaged youth. A new study may help predict which volunteers are likely to keep a long-term commitment to their protégés.

The study, published in the March Journal of Applied Social Psychology, found that...

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