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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 527038, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/527038
Review Article

Beliefs in the Future as a Positive Youth Development Construct: A Conceptual Review

1Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
3Public Policy Research Institute, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
4Department of Sociology, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
5Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau
6Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40506, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 4 September 2011

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2012 Rachel C. F. Sun and Daniel T. L. Shek. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Beliefs in the future are an internalization of hope and optimism about future outcomes. This paper reviews and compares several theories of hope and optimism and highlights the features constituting beliefs in the future. This paper points out that beliefs in the future include a series of goal-directed thoughts and motivation, such as setting up valued and attainable goals, planning pathways, and maintaining self-confidence and mastery, so as to keep adolescents engaged in the pursuit of goals. This kind of personal mastery, together with sociocultural values, family, school, and peers are the antecedents leading to beliefs in the future, which is related to adolescents’ well-being and positive development. In order to cultivate adolescents’ beliefs in the future, enabling their ability to manipulate goal-directed thoughts and motivation and providing a supportive environment including their family, school, peers, and the society are recommended.