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Learning Hope and Optimism: Classmate Experiences and Adolescent Development


  • Fletcher, Jason M.

    () (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Kim, Jinho

    () (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


This paper explores individual and contextual factors related to the development of hopeful attitudes during adolescence using a nationally representative study. A key focus is on the experiences of maltreatment by adults, both for the adolescent and his/her classmates. While all types of individual experiences with maltreatment reduce adolescent hopefulness, maltreatment domains most likely to be visible (i.e physical abuse) by classmates also reduce adolescent hopefulness. This relationship is robust to the inclusion of more general environmental factors through school-level fixed effects, suggesting both a causal explanation and a typically unmeasured spillover effect of violence against children. Other types of maltreatment, such as neglect and material hardship, do not show spillover effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Fletcher, Jason M. & Kim, Jinho, 2018. "Learning Hope and Optimism: Classmate Experiences and Adolescent Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11546

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Bifulco & Jason M. Fletcher & Stephen L. Ross, 2011. "The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Post-secondary Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 25-53, February.
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    More about this item


    hope; optimism; maltreatment; peer effects; spillovers;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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