Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 101–114 | Cite as

The Role of Religion and Spirituality in the Association Between Hope and Anxiety in a Sample of Latino Youth

  • Moneika DiPierro
  • Paula J. Fite
  • Michelle Johnson-Motoyama
Original Paper



Latino adolescents are a subpopulation of youth who are disproportionately at risk for experiencing low levels of hope, which is linked to high levels of anxiety. However, factors such as religion/spirituality (i.e., identifying as a spiritual/religious person), that may buffer this association are not yet clear. Religion/spirituality may serve as a protective factor in this link by fostering positive coping.


The current study examined the moderating role of religion/spirituality the link between hope and anxiety in a sample of Latino youth. Religion/spirituality combined with high levels of hope was hypothesized to be associated with the lowest levels of anxiety.


134 Latino adolescents (83.5% Mexican heritage) attending a charter high school in a large Midwestern city (45.5% Male, M = 16.14 years, SD = 1.31) completed a survey that included items measuring religiosity/spirituality, beliefs around goal setting, and self-reported anxiety symptoms.


A link between hope and anxiety was evident, with higher levels of hope associated with lower levels of anxiety. However, religion/spirituality moderated the association between hope and anxiety. Simple slope plots revealed that a negative association between hope and anxiety was only evident in the presence of religion/spirituality. Hope was unrelated to anxiety in the absence of religion/spirituality.


Findings did not support a buffering effect of religion/spirituality. Religious/spiritual coping may strengthen the link between high levels of hope and low anxiety levels in this sample.


Religion Spirituality Latino youth Hope Anxiety 



This study was funded by an internal grant from the University of Kansas.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Moneika DiPierro, M.A. declares that she has no conflict of interest. Paula J. Fite, Ph.D. declares that she has no conflict of interest. Michelle Johnson-Motoyama, Ph.D. declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moneika DiPierro
    • 1
  • Paula J. Fite
    • 1
  • Michelle Johnson-Motoyama
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Child Psychology ProgramUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WelfareUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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