Hope in adolescence and subsequent health and well-being in adulthood: An outcome-wide longitudinal study


Long, Katelyn N. G.; Wilkinson, Renae; Cowden, Richard G.; Chen, Ying; & VanderWeele, Tyler J. (2024). Hope in adolescence and subsequent health and well-being in adulthood: An outcome-wide longitudinal study. Social Science and Medicine.


Background: A sense of hopelessness is rising at alarming levels among adolescents in the United States. There is urgent need to understand the potential implications of being hopeful on adolescents' future health and wellbeing. Methods: This study utilized data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 11,038, mean age at baseline = 15 years) to prospectively examine the relationship between baseline hope and a wide range of outcomes 12 years later. Thirty-eight outcomes were examined in the domains of physical health, health behavior, mental health, psychological well-being, social factors, and civic and prosocial behavior. Regression models were used to regress each outcome on baseline hope separately. Models controlled for a wide range of factors as well as prior values of the exposure (hope) and each outcome. Results: Having hope for the future in adolescence was associated with improvements in 11 subsequent outcomes after Bonferonni correction, including higher cognition and self-rated health, less physical inactivity, fewer depressive symptoms, lower perceived stress, and improvement on a number of psychological and social factors including greater happiness, more satisfaction with parenting, and increased voting and volunteering in adulthood. There were also a number of associations that were close to the null, which are equally important to explore and understand. Implications: The results of the study may have important implications for hope-based efforts and programs aimed at improving the lives of young people and promoting their current and future well-being.





Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Science and Medicine


Long, Katelyn N. G.
Wilkinson, Renae
Cowden, Richard G.
Chen, Ying
VanderWeele, Tyler J.

Year Published



March 01, 2024



Reference ID