HOPE AND THRIVING IN ADOLESCENCE AND YOUNG ADULTHOOD: A RELATIONAL DEVELOPMENTAL SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK.
Abstract: Relational developmental systems theories emphasize that
developmental paths across life are shaped by characteristics of the individual (e.g.,
aspirations, values, cognitive and behavioral skills, etc.), by the specific features of
his or her family, school, peer group, and community, as well as by the vicissitudes of the
historical era within which he or she is embedded. Over the ... read morepast two decades, researchers
have found robust associations between hope and various aspects of youth thriving, for
example, academic success, psychosocial well-being, athletic achievement, and the Five Cs
of positive youth development (PYD), Competence, Confidence, Character, Connection, and
Caring. Although variables in different levels of the ecology of youth may serve as
barriers or assets to positive developmental trajectories, hope may be a necessary
ingredient for the individual to actively shape his or her developmental path, within and
across periods of the life span. A model of the development of hope predicated on
relational developmental systems theory may advance understanding of the role of this
construct in life-span development by accounting for the mutually beneficial role of hope
in person-context relations. Accordingly, the present research sought to extend prior
scholarship by investigating whether hope might lead to manifestations of successful
person-context relations, such as helping behaviors and contribution in one's community.
Because no single data set exists to allow a test of the full theoretical model of the
these relations, I used data from the Young Entrepreneurs Study, the Assessment of
Character in the Trades project, and the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development to assess
the role of hope in contribution. Findings indicated that the role of hope in positive
developmental pathways marked by contribution is more complex than originally thought. For
example, although hope was positively associated with prosocial attitudes regarding
contribution, it was also positively associated with Machiavellian attitudes related to
social manipulation and deceit. Hope was positively associated with helping behaviors, but
only indirectly via generalized social trust. Findings are discussed in terms of
implications for a more nuanced understanding of the role of hope in the lives of
adolescents and young adults. In particular, findings from this set of studies emphasize
the need to incorporate a prosocial, relational dimension of hope, such as trust,
connection, or Great Love-Compassion, in research and applications that seek to link hope
to contribution, especially for youth.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisors: Richard Lerner, and Tama Leventhal.
Committee: Shane Lopez, and Jean Rhodes.
Keyword: Developmental psychology.read less