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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 13, 2014

Future orientation: a construct with implications for adolescent health and wellbeing

  • Sarah R. Lindstrom Johnson EMAIL logo , Robert W. Blum and Tina L. Cheng


Multidisciplinary research has supported a relationship between adolescent future orientation (the ability to set future goals and plans) and positive adolescent health and development outcomes. Many preventive strategies – for example, contracepting, exercising – are based on taking actions in the present to avoid unwanted or negative future consequences. However, research has been hampered by unclear and often divergent conceptualizations of the future orientation construct. The present paper aims to integrate previous conceptual and operational definitions into a conceptual framework that can inform programs and services for youth and efforts to evaluate future orientation as a target for intervention. Recommendations focus on furthering the study of the construct through measurement synthesis as well as studies of the normative development of future orientation. Also suggested is the need to pair environmental intervention strategies with individual level efforts to improve future orientation in order to maximize benefits.

Corresponding author: Sarah R. Lindstrom Johnson, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 200 North Wolfe Street, Room 2073, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA, Phone: +1-410-614-3864, Fax: +1-410-502-5440, E-mail:


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Received: 2013-10-10
Accepted: 2014-1-4
Published Online: 2014-2-13
Published in Print: 2014-11-1

©2014 by De Gruyter

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