Within the field of positive youth development (PYD), a key goal is to identify strengths of youth that will help explain why some adolescents are able to develop into successful young adults by working toward productive goals and selecting positive behaviors, whereas others follow developmental paths marked by problematic behaviors. In this chapter, we describe the importance of hope in positive development. We define hope as having three key ingredients: intentional self-regulation, positive future expectations, and connectedness. We provide evidence from the 4-H Study of PYD to show how these three ingredients work together to promote the Five Cs of PYD and youth contribution. We make recommendations for practitioners to incorporate or enhance each of these hope ingredients in their youth development programs as well as how to recognize hopelessness among youth and how to intervene. We conclude the chapter with priorities for youth policy, such as allocating funding for programs and program evaluations that take a comprehensive and integrative approach to youth development programming. We believe that hope should be a cornerstone of youth programming and that practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers can be intentional in promoting hope to ensure all young people have opportunities to thrive.
- Positive youth development
- Intentional self-regulation
- Future expectations
- Civic hope
- Youth contribution
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This article was supported in part by grants from the National 4-H Council, the Altria Corporation, the Thrive Foundation for Youth, and the John Templeton Foundation.
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Recommended Additional Resources
Recommended Additional Resources
Benson, P. L. (2008). Sparks: How parents can ignite the hidden strengths of teenagers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Peter Benson describes a plan for awakening the spark that lives inside each and every young person, the feeling or idea that motivates them to engage their world—their families, peers, schools, and communities—in positive and productive ways. Sparks—when illuminated and nurtured—give young people joy, energy, and direction. They have the power to change a young person’s life from one of “surviving” to “thriving.” The book provides a step-by-step approach to helping teenagers discover their unique gifts and is applicable to all families, no matter their economic status, parenting situation, or ethnic background.
Damon, W. (2008). The path to purpose: Helping our children find their calling in life. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Drawing on the results of his innovative and important research, William Damon discusses one of the most pressing issues in the lives of youth today: why so many young people are “failing to launch,” that is, living at home longer, lacking career motivation, struggling to make a timely transition into adulthood, and not yet finding a life pursuit that inspires them. The book provides creative ideas for parents and practitioners to use to promote purpose among youth and to engage them positively with their peers, schools, and communities.
Lopez, S. J. (2013). Making hope happen: Create the future you want for yourself and others. New York: Atria Books.
Lopez discusses how to measure, create, and share hope and the impact of hope on various aspects of life, including relationships and career. This book is recommended for people who want to understand hope as a choice and learn how to use it as a life tool.
Schmid, K. L. & Lopez, S. J. (2011). Positive pathways to adulthood: The role of hope in adolescents’ constructions of their futures. In R. M. Lerner, J. V. Lerner, & J. B. Benson (Eds.), Positive youth development: Advances in child development and behavior (Vol. 41, pp. 72–89). New York: Academic Press.
Schmid and Lopez explore hope within a developmental systems framework and in relation to positive future expectations and thriving in adolescence. This journal article is recommended for people seeking a more in-depth explanation of the role of hope in positive youth development.
Seginer, R. (2009). Future orientation: Developmental and ecological perspectives. New York: Springer.
Seginer explores the concept of future orientation, specifically for adolescents. She takes a psychological perspective and relates future orientation to other constructs, such as identity and self-esteem. Future orientation is recommended for people who want to gain a deeper understanding of the psychology of future-oriented thinking and how it develops across childhood and adolescence.
Seligman, M. E. P. (1991). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. New York: Random House.
Seligman discusses the positive impacts of optimism and offers techniques to help enhance it. He also offers advice on how to inspire optimism at school and at work. This book is a resource for those interested in developing skills of optimism in themselves or others.
Snyder, C. R. (1994). The psychology of hope: You can get there from here. New York: Free Press.
Snyder explores what makes hopeful individuals hopeful and provides information on how to help foster hope in children and adults. This book is a resource for anyone who wants to understand the psychology behind hope and how to cultivate aspects of hope.
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Callina, K.S., Mueller, M.K., Buckingham, M.H., Gutierrez, A.S. (2015). Building Hope for Positive Youth Development: Research, Practice, and Policy. In: Bowers, E., et al. Promoting Positive Youth Development. Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-17166-1_5
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-319-17165-4
Online ISBN: 978-3-319-17166-1