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Very thought provoking piece:
A new study on how adolescents consider their future may tell us about how positive and negative life paths are chosen. The study, led by Kristina Schmid of Tufts University, appeared in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Positive Psychology. The team of researchers studied 7th through 9th graders, 13 – 15 year olds on a variety of measures and found that a hopeful future sets the stage for healthy and successful functioning later in life.
In considering such factors as goal selection (S), resource optimization (O) and compensatory skills (C) for adjusting to impediments these goals, the study was able to show a link between an adolescent’s ability to consider future aspirations, and favorable or unfavorable life trajectories.
In other words, do we become what we hope we’ll become?
The results showed that positive or problematic trajectories were predictable as evidenced by higher or lower SOC scores and hopeful futures respectively. Higher scores placed subjects in the more favorable trajectories, while lower scores manifested in more depressive symptoms and risk behaviors. In other words, according to the researchers, “…a hopeful future constitutes both emotional and cognitive activation needed to make meaningful the use of intentional self-regulatory abilities…”
Once you add hope to the list of variables in predicting which path we are going down in our lives we can determine who is on the road to thriving, and who isn’t.
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