The Mentoring Competency Assessment: Validation of a New Instrument to Evaluate Skills of Research Mentors

Fleming, Michael MD; House, Stephanie MA; Hanson, Vansa Shewakramani MS; Yu, Lan PhD; Garbutt, Jane MD; McGee, Richard PhD; Kroenke, Kurt MD; Abedin, Zainab MPH; Rubio, Doris M. PhD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318295e298
Research Reports

Purpose: To determine the psychometric properties of the Mentoring Competency Assessment (MCA), a 26-item skills inventory that enables research mentors and mentees to evaluate six competencies of mentors: maintaining effective communication, aligning expectations, assessing understanding, addressing diversity, fostering independence, and promoting professional development.

Method: In 2010, investigators administered the MCA to 283 mentor–mentee pairs from 16 universities participating in a trial of a mentoring curriculum for clinical and translational research mentors. The authors analyzed baseline MCA data to describe the instrument’s psychometric properties.

Results: Coefficient alpha scores for the MCA showed reliability (internal consistency). The hypothesized model with its six latent constructs (competencies) resulted in an acceptable fit to the data. For the instrument completed by mentors, chi-square = 663.20; df = 284; P < .001; root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.069 (90% CI, 0.062–0.076); comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.85; and Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) = 0.83. For the instrument completed by mentees, chi-square = 840.62; df = 284; P < .001; RMSEA = 0.080 (90% CI, 0.063–0.077); CFI = 0.87; and TLI = 0.85. The correlations among the six competencies were high: 0.49–0.87 for mentors, 0.58–0.92 for mentees. All parameter estimates for the individual items were significant; standardized factor loadings ranged from 0.32 to 0.81 for mentors and 0.56 to 0.86 for mentees.

Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that the MCA has reliability and validity. In addition, this study provides preliminary norms derived from a national sample of mentors and mentees.

Dr. Fleming is professor of psychiatry and family medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Ms. House is project director, Research, Education, and Career Development, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

Ms. Hanson is research assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Yu is assistant professor of biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Garbutt is associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, director, Mentored Training Program in Clinical Investigation, and codirector, KL2 Program in Clinical Investigation, Clinical Research Training Program, Institute of Clinical and Translational Science, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. McGee is associate dean for faculty recruitment and professional development, professor of medical education and faculty development, and director, Scientific Careers Research and Development Group, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Kroenke is professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, director, Research Education and Career Development, Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and research scientist, VA HSR&D Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice and Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ms. Abedin is evaluation specialist, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York.

Dr. Rubio is professor of medicine, biostatistics, nursing, and clinical and translational science, director, Data Center, Center for Research on Health Care, and codirector, Institute for Clinical Research Education, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Fleming, Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, 4th Floor, 710 North Lakeshore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611; telephone: (608) 213-1128; e-mail: m-fleming@northwestern.edu.

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges