Data came from a six-wave survey with 302 recent immigrant Latinx adolescent-caregiver dyads. About 47% of the adolescent sample were female (Meanage = 14.51 years). About 74% of the parent sample consisted of mothers (Meanage = 41.09 years). Adolescents completed measures of family functioning, neighborhood support, cultural stress, emotional and behavioral health outcomes. Parents completed measures of family functioning, neighborhood social cohesion, informal social control, extent of problems in the neighborhood, cultural stress, and depressive symptoms.
Latent growth curve modeling indicated that adolescent hope increased over time. Moreover, higher adolescent-reported family functioning, neighborhood support, and lower adolescent cultural stress at T1 were associated with higher initial levels (i.e., intercept) of adolescent hope. Additionally, results indicated that the adolescent hope intercept and slope were related to adolescent emotional and behavioral health as well as parent depressive symptoms at T6. Specifically, higher hope intercept predicted lower T6 adolescent rule-breaking, lower T6 and depressive symptoms, and higher T6 adolescent self-esteem. Increases in adolescent hope (i.e., slope) predicted lower T6 adolescent rule-breaking, T6 aggressive behaviors, T6 adolescent depressive symptoms, and higher T6 adolescent self-esteem. Lastly, increases in adolescent hope were associated with lower T6 parent depressive symptoms.
The current study extends the adolescent hope literature by documenting that Latinx adolescents’ hope increased over time. Importantly, higher initial levels of and increases in adolescent hope predicted better emotional and behavioral health among adolescents and parents. Generally, our findings suggest that preventive interventions to improve the emotional and behavioral health of Latinx families could benefit from efforts to promote adolescent hope. This may be done by reducing cultural stress for adolescents and fostering adolescent family functioning and neighborhood support.