Hope & Efficacy

Hope and efficacy refers to the individual capacity, desire, and ability to participate, communicate, and work to improve their family or community. It also incorporates individual or collective feeling of optimism towards a future of ample opportunities for success and wellbeing. Individual and collective hope and efficacy fosters health by maintaining a mindset that advocates for healthy choices and behaviors. African American boys have strong future aspirations and express a desire to succeed in school, at times their aspirations are thwarted by perceived and an actual lack of support from teachers due to internal bias.(1) African American males may internalize the widespread belief that they are troublemakers who rarely succeed academically or professionally; this can lead to feelings of cynicism regarding the role that positive academic performance may play in being able to obtain future success. Future aspirations of several recent immigrant teens were shaped by traditional gender norms that aligned their education and childbearing trajectories with those of teens in their communities of origin.(2) These respondents articulated low employment expectations resulting in reduced emphasis on schooling. Foreign-born adult and teen respondents, particularly those who had immigrated to the US prior to adolescence, articulated a strong influence from parents to attain a college education and to take advantage of opportunities presented to them by their having immigrated to the US. However, Immigration laws that limit access to financial aid and higher education also presented self-doubt. Social conditioning has discouraged women from male dominated fields such as science. As a result we see a gendered difference where women underperform in mathematics, science and computer science.

  1. McCoy H, Bowen E. Hope in the Social Environment: Factors Affecting Future Aspirations and School Self-Efficacy for Youth in Urban Environments.
    Child Adolesc Soc Work J. 2015;32(2):131-141. doi:10.1007/s10560-014-0343-7.
  2. Minnis AM, Marchi K, Ralph L, et al.
    Limited Socioeconomic Opportunities and Latina Teen Childbearing: A Qualitative Study of Family and Structural Factors Affecting Future Expectations.
    J Immigr Minor Health N Y. 2013;15(2):334-340. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/10.1007/s10903-012-9653-z.