Hope & Efficacy


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


  • African American boys have strong future aspirations and express a desire to succeed in school, yet their aspirations can be thwarted by both the perceived and actual lack of support from teachers resulting from internal bias.¹
  • African American males may internalize the widespread belief that they are troublemakers who rarely succeed academically or professionally, which can lead to feelings of cynicism regarding the role that academic performance may play in future success.

Connection Across Determinants


  • Recent immigrant teens’ future aspirations were shaped by traditional gender norms aligning their education and childbearing trajectories with those of teens in their communities of origin.²
  • Foreign-born adults and teens, particularly those who immigrated to the US prior to adolescence, articulated a strong desire to attend college and take advantage of opportunities presented to them by immigration to the U.S. However, immigration laws that limit access to financial aid and higher education fostered self-doubt.


  • Social conditioning discourages women from male dominated fields such as science, resulting in gendered differences where women underperform in mathematics, science and computer science.³

  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.
  3. Gilbreath LC. Factors Impacting Women’s Participation in STEM Fields. 2015. http://scholarworks.uvm.edu/hcoltheses/65/. Accessed September 20, 2017