Introduction: Feeling hopeful is an important condition for adolescents’ health, well-being, and educational success and attainment, yet limited research has examined hope at different ages throughout adolescence. Information regarding hope levels across grade could help educators know when to capitalize on goal-setting behaviors, and when to intervene should hope levels be low. Additionally, hope could help with the middle to high school transition because it presents opportunities and challenges, including school-related stress, as students adjust to new environments and expectations. Methods: To investigate hope levels across adolescence, inter- and intra-personal analyses examined hope levels across grade-level in two cohorts of southwestern U.S. students (n = 1,018, 6th-10th grade students, 47% female, 55% White/45% non-White, (predominately Latinx)). The study used online self-report surveys to collect data. Next, longitudinal regression analyses across one year investigated relations of school stress and hope, and hope and achievement across the transition to high school. Results: Students in both cohorts reported relatively stable hope levels from 6th to 10th grade, except for large decreases in hope during 8th grade, which recovered during 9th grade. For longitudinal analyses across the high school transition, student stress about school performance primarily influenced 8th graders who had relatively low hope. Eighth grade hope predicted 9th grade academic achievement. Conclusion: Findings regarding hope across adolescence show that hope is similar across grade, except for a large decrease in hope that may occur before the transition to high school. Longitudinal analyses showed that school performance stress may contribute to this decrease but may also assist in hope recovery after the transition. Findings support educational practices and policies that target student hope before the high school transition to potentially buffer student stress and promote high school achievement.
- School stress
- School transition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health