The Differential Effects of Perceived Social Support on Adolescent Hope: Testing the Moderating Effects of Age and Gender


In an effort to deepen our understanding of the development of one future-oriented psychological strength, hope, we examined how multiple sources of perceived social support (i.e., parent, teacher, classmate, friend) predicted hope and if these relations were moderated by age and gender in adolescents across a 1-year time span. Our sample was composed of adolescents in middle and high schools with ages ranging from 10 to 19 years old (Mage = 14.19, SD = 2.05) living in the United States (N = 991). The results showed that perceived social support from parents significantly predicted later hope in adolescents, and this relation was moderated by age but not gender. Specifically, the effect of perceived social support from parents on later hope declined as age increased. Perceived social support from teachers, classmates, and friends did not predict later hope, after controlling for baseline hope and race; neither age nor gender moderated the relation between these sources of social support and hope. These findings suggest that it is necessary to consider the developmental needs associated with ages within adolescence when promoting adolescents’ hope, especially in the family context. Future directions to extend the understanding of hope development and implications of the findings in mental health practices are discussed.

Publication Title

Child Indicators Research