Hope as a Strategy for Improving Student Achievement and Dissuading Repeat Pregnancy in Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents
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This dissertation examines the construct of hope and its ability to be taught to pregnant and parenting adolescents as a strategy to improve academic achievement and dissuade repeat adolescent pregnancy. A systemic review of the literature examined fourteen (n=14) empirical studies to ascertain if a relationship existed between achievement and the construct of hope. With 92% of the studies reporting a positive correlation between hope and achievement, one can answer yes to the question of an existing relationship between hope and achievement. A manuscript is presented to summarize the development and implementation of a curriculum, designed to develop requisite skills among adolescent mothers to elevate their levels of hope. The Helping Optimize Planning Efforts (HOPE) curriculum presents specific methods for adolescent mothers to enhance skills related to goal setting, goal attainment and the use of positive self-talk as a mechanism for developing hope or increasing existing levels of hope. The study attempted to assess the ability of the HOPE curriculum to enhance the adolescent mother?s level of hope with the underlying assumption that increasing levels of hope might decrease the probability of a repeat adolescent pregnancy. Findings suggested there was a significant difference in the scores for the Dispositional Trait Hope Scale (DTHS) pre-test (M = 68.5, SD = 7.0) and the DTHS post-test scores (M = 73.2, SD = 5.61) (t(11) = 3.18, p = .009) indicating an increase in global hope. A significant difference was also found in between the State Hope Scale (SHS) pre-test scores (M = 39.0, SD = 4.84) and SHS post-test scores (M = 41.5, SD = 5.21) (t(11) = 4.19, p = .002) indicating an increase in the students point in time level of hope. The evaluation of the curriculum indicated that adolescent mothers can be taught to increase their levels of hope using the HOPE curriculum. Data collected during the evaluation of the HOPE curriculum was further analyzed to identify the constructs that contribute to the building of hope in adolescent mothers. The data suggests that two distinct components, agency and pathway, contribute to increase the level of hope. Examination of the subscales within the DTHS, showed there was a significant difference between the pre-test agency (M = 25.42, SD = 5.81) and the post-test agency scores (M = 27.85, SD = 3.65) (t(11) = 2.83, p = .017). Also, among the DTHS pathway subscale, a significant difference was found between the scores on the pre-test (M = 25.08, SD = 3.58) and the post-test score (M = 26.67, SD = 2.35) (t(11) = 2.22, p = .048). These findings suggest that the increased level of hope on the DTHS for was a reflection of the improvements in components, agency and pathway. These findings suggests that adolescent mothers can be taught to be more hopeful when the components of agency and pathway are developed.
McNeill, Elisa Hutson (2010). Hope as a Strategy for Improving Student Achievement and Dissuading Repeat Pregnancy in Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from