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Families in Society






While social workers strive to build disadvantaged African American youths’ resilience by improving services, rarely are those youths’ perspectives included in research. In a previous evaluation of an after-school program, disadvantaged African American youths prioritized instructors’ compassion and said compassion engendered hope. This study explores their connection between compassion and hope more deeply. Focusing on Snyder’s hope theory, this study examines the connection between compassion and hope as individual traits (using standardized scales) and as relational, action-based experiences (using qualitative analysis of interview data). Instructor actions that youths identified as compassionate and as engendering hope were encouragement, problem solving, responsive empathy, and affirming that good choices could bring about good futures. Youths built their hope by internalizing their instructors’ compassion.


Author Posting. © 2014 Alliance for Children and Families. This article is posted here by permission of the Alliance for Children and Families for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Families in Society, Volume 95, Issue 2, 2014,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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