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Abstract

Hope plays an important role in resiliency, well-being, and buffering against adversity. To explore children’s experiences with hope while developing in low-income communities, we conducted interviews with twenty-one children residing in Flint, Michigan, ages 9-12 years. Research questions focused on the specific hopes children have, the importance they ascribe to different hopes, and their experiences of feeling hopeful or less hopeful about desired outcomes. Children expressed interrelated hopes across multiple social-ecological domains, including hopes for themselves, hopes for their interpersonal relationships, and hopes for the community. Children placed particular importance on their hopes of helping others, which included providing for their families and aiding others in the community. Children, however, expressed uncertainty regarding their hopes related to career aspirations, academic achievement, financial stability, and obtaining basic needs. Our findings expand upon what is known about children’s internal dialogues with feeling hopeful or less hopeful about desired outcomes in low-income communities. These findings can enhance community and school-based programming so they further align with the specific hopes that children have, and attune to areas in which children in impoverished communities are most in need of hope-engendering strategies.

Keywords

Hope, Poverty, Minority Youth, Positive Psychology, Urban Communities, Thematic Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Christin L. Carotta, PhD, MEd, is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at South Dakota State University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: christin.carotta@sdstate.edu.

Amy E. Bonomi, PhD, MPH, is professor and chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: bonomi@msu.edu.

Karleigh Knox, Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: knoxkarl@msu.edu.

Morgan C. Blain, BS, Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: blainmor@msu.edu.

Brianna F. Dines, Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: dinesbri@msu.edu.

Jaquan Cotton, BS, Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jones177@msu.edu.

Publication Date

9-18-2017

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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