The Relationship Between Hope and Adolescent Likelihood to Endorse Substance Use Behaviors in a Sample of Marginalized Youth

Merrian J. Brooks, Michael P. Marshal, Heather L. McCauley, Antoine Douaihy, Elizabeth Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Hopefulness has been associated with increased treatment retention and reduced substance abuse among adults, and may be a promising modifiable factor to leverage in substance abuse treatment settings. Few studies have assessed the relationship between hopefulness and substance use in adolescents, particularly those with high-risk backgrounds. Objective: We explored whether high hope is associated with less likelihood for engaging in a variety of substance use behaviors in a sample of marginalized adolescents. Methods: Using logistic regression, we assessed results from a cross-sectional anonymous youth behavior survey (n = 256 youth, ages 14 to 19). We recruited from local youth serving agencies (e.g., homeless shelters, group homes, short-term detention). Results: The sample was almost 60% male and two thirds African American. Unadjusted models showed youth with higher hope had a 50-58% (p = <.05) decreased odds of endorsing heavy episodic drinking, daily tobacco use, recent or lifetime marijuana use, and sex after using substances. Adjusted models showed a 52% decreased odds of lifetime marijuana use with higher hope, and a trend towards less sex after substance use (AOR 0.481; p = 0.065). No other substance use behaviors remained significantly associated with higher hope scores in adjusted models. Conclusions/Importance: Hopefulness may contribute to decreased likelihood of substance use in adolescents. Focusing on hope may be one modifiable target in a comprehensive primary or secondary substance use prevention program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1815-1819
Number of pages5
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 9 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • prevention
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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