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Hope & Efficacy

Hope and efficacy refer to an individual’s capacity, desire, and ability to participate, communicate, and work to improve their family or community. They also incorporate individual or collective feelings of optimism for the future, opportunities for success, and wellbeing. Individual and collective hope and efficacy foster health by developing a mindset that fosters healthy choices and behaviors.

Disparities and Statistics

  • Race and Ethnicity: A study of students at various two and four year college students found that 50% of white students felt more academically prepared than their peers, versus 36% of black students; white students were also more likely to feel emotionally prepared for college. Students of color were more likely than white students to say that “everyone has college figured out but them,” and 75% of black college students responded that they tend to keep their feelings about the difficulty of college to themselves, versus 61% of white students.²⁹

  • Socioeconomic Status: Many working class individuals have suffered from the decline of organized labor. When asked in national surveys about the people with whom they discussed “important matters” in the past six months, those with just a high-school education or less are likelier to say no one (this percentage has risen over the years for college graduates, too). This trend is troubling, given that social isolation is linked to depression and, in turn, suicide and substance abuse.³⁰

  • Health: Hope and Efficacy means that individuals feel that they can meaningfully impact change and contribute to solving larger problems within their immediate family or community. It also includes feelings of optimism for oneself and a future in which all people are able to contribute and succeed.