Hope Research

Arnau, R., Rosen, D., Finch, J., Rhudy, J., & Fortunato, V. (2007). Longitudinal effects of hope on depression and anxiety: a latent variable analysis. Journal of Personality, 75(1), 43–64. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00432.x.

This study tested the prospective effects of hope on depression and anxiety using a longitudinal design. A sample of 522 college students completed self-report measures of hope, depression, and anxiety at three-time points, with 1-month delays between administrations. Structural equation modeling was employed to test two cross-lagged panel models of the reciprocal effects of the Agency and Pathways components of hope on depression and anxiety. Results indicated statistically significant negative effects for the Agency component of hope on later depression but no unique effect of the Pathways component of hope on depression. Likewise, Agency showed a statistically significant negative effect on later anxiety, but again Pathways had no significant influence on anxiety. In both cases, neither depression nor anxiety demonstrated any longitudinal effects on either the Agency or Pathways components of hope. Implications of these findings are discussed, along with potential directions for future research.


Bailey, T. C., Eng, W., Frisch, M. B., & Snyder†, C. R. (2007). Hope and optimism as related to life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2(3), 168-175.

This study explored the hope and optimism constructs and their unique variances in predicting life satisfaction. The subscales (Agency and Pathways) of the Adult Hope Scale (Snyder, Harris et al., 1991) and optimism and pessimism as measured by the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R; Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994) were compared in terms of ability to predict life satisfaction as measured by the domain-specific Quality of Life Inventory (QOLI®; Frisch, 1994; Study 1, N = 331) and the global measure Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985; Study 2, N = 215). The Agency subscale of the Adult Hope Scale was the better predictor of life satisfaction in both studies. The implications of these findings for theory and measurement of hope and optimism are discussed.

Keywords: Positive psychology, hope, optimism, quality of life, satisfaction with life, subjective well-being


Cheavens, J. S., Feldman, D. B., Woodward, J. T., & Snyder, C. R. (2006). Hope in cognitive psychotherapies: On working with client strengths. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 20(2), 135–145. https://doi.org/10.1891/jcop.20.2.135

The present article proposes that the promotion of hope represents an important therapeutic strategy in cognitive psychotherapies. The authors argue that interventions that are aimed at fostering hope in clients can be used in conjunction with traditional cognitive-behavioral techniques to help clients achieve their treatment goals. Specifically, the authors propose a four-step process for promoting hope that involves (a) assessing hope, (b) identifying and bolstering existing client strengths, (c) setting and achieving goals, and (d) promoting positive expectancy for future success. Finally, the authors provide a case example to illustrate the importance of hope in cognitive psychotherapy.

Keywords: hope, cognitive psychotherapy, strengths, goals, positive expectancy


Lopez, S. J., Floyd, R. K., Ulven, J. C.,&Snyder, C. R. (2000). Hope therapy: Helping clients build a house of hope. In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Handbook of hope: Theory, measures, and application (pp. 123–150). San Diego, CA: Academic.

We now are at the next important stage involving the development of a system of intervention techniques derived specifically from hope theory. A review of the hope-related literature suggests that hope enhancing may be best achieved by integrating solution-focused, narrative, and cognitive-behavioural interventions, and that hope reminding should incorporate abbreviated versions of these techniques. Thus, hope therapy is designed to help clients in conceptualizing clearer goals, producing numerous pathways to attainment, summoning the mental energy to maintain the goal pursuit, and reframing insurmountable obstacles as challenges to be overcome. The hopeful therapeutic relationship facilitates these hope components. The change in hope does not occur at the surface or behavioural level; rather, the person’s deeper self-perceptions of being capable of agentic and goal-directed thought must be enhanced. Hope therapy tools are provided throughout the chapter, including numerous techniques for accomplishing the steps of each hope therapy stage.


Rand, K. L., Martin, A. D., & Shea, A. M. (2020). Hope, coping, and adjustment to chronic illness in young adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 27(3), 175–186. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-020-09351-x

Chronic illness presents unique challenges for young adults, including disruptions in social roles and developmental milestones. This study examined the role of hope and coping in adjustment to chronic illness among young adults. Participants (N = 204; M age = 24.3 years, SD = 3.8) completed measures of hope, coping, and adjustment. Results indicated that higher hope predicted greater engagement coping and positive adjustment, and lower disengagement coping and negative adjustment. Engaged coping mediated the relationship between hope and adjustment. Further analyses revealed that hope was a stronger predictor of adjustment than illness type or duration. These findings suggest that fostering hope and engagement coping


Snyder, C. R. (2000). Handbook of hope: Theory, measures, and applications. San Diego, CA, US:Academic Press.

Snyder’s (2000) Handbook of Hope is a comprehensive volume that explores the theory, research, and applications of hope in psychology. The book is organized into three parts. Part I provides an overview of hope theory and its various components, such as agency and pathways thinking. Part II focuses on the measurement of hope, including the development and validation of the Hope Scale. Part III examines the various applications of hope in areas such as psychotherapy, education, health, and sports.


Snyder, C. R. (2002). Hope theory: Rainbows in the mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13(4), 249-275.

Hope is defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways. The adult and child hope scales that are derived from hope theory are described. Hope theory is compared to theories of learned optimism, optimism, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Higher hope consistently is related to better outcomes in academics, athletics, physical health, psychological adjustment, and psychotherapy. Processes that lessen hope in children and adults are reviewed. Using the hope theory definition, no evidence is found for “false” hope. Future research is encouraged in regard to accurately enhancing hope in medical feedback and helping people to pursue those goals for which they are best suited.


Snyder, C. R., Rand, K., King, E., Feldman, D., & Woodward, J. T. (2002). “False” hope. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(9), 1003–1022. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10096.

“False” hope is condemned in the literature on the grounds that it reflects the counterproductive use of: (a) expectations based on illusions rather than reality, (b) inappropriate goals, and (c) poor strategies to reach desired goals. Snyder, Harris, et al.’s (1991) hope theory involving self-referential thoughts about finding routes to desired goals (pathways) and the motivation to use those routes (agency) is used as a framework for examining these three criticisms of false hope. It is concluded that the presently available evidence does not support any of the false-hope criticisms. The implications of hope-related issues for the applied clinical arena are discussed


Snyder, C. R., Sympson, S. C., Ybasco, F. C., Borders, T. F., Babyak, M. A., & Higgins, R. L. (1996). Development and validation of the state hope scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(2), 321-335.

Defining hope as a cognitive set comprising agency (belief in one’s capacity to initiate and sustain actions) and pathways(belief in one’s capacity to generate routes)to reach goals, the Hope Scale was developed and validated previously as a dispositional self-report measure of hope. The present 4 studies were designed to develop and validate a measure of state hope. The 6-item State Hope Scale is internally consistent and reflects the theorized agency and pathways components. The relationships of the State Hope Scale to other measures demonstrate concurrent and discriminant validity; moreover, the scale is responsive to events in the lives of people as evidenced by data gathered through both correlational and causal designs. The State Hope Scale offers a brief, internally consistent, and valid self-report measure of ongoing goal-directed thinking that may be useful to researchers and applied professionals


Snyder, C.R. (1994) The Psychology of Hope.  London: Free Press.

R. Snyder provides fascinating insights into the personality of the highly hopeful individual. Drawing on inspiring clinical cases, as well as his seminal research and widely distributed hope scale, Snyder shows that very hopeful people differ from the rest of us in some intriguing respects.
“The Psychology of Hope” is a book for anyone who seeks to understand the psychological underpinning of this essential virtue


Snyder, C. R., Harris, C., Anderson, J. R., Holleran, S. A., Irving, L. M., Sigmon, S. T., Yoshinobu, L., Gibb, J., Langelle, C., & Harney, P. (1991). The will and the ways: Development and validation of an individual-differences measure of hope. Journal of personality and social psychology, 60(4), 570–585. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.60.4.570

Presents the development and validation of the Hope Scale, which measures hope as a trait, as opposed to a state. The Hope Scale is a 12-item instrument that consists of 2 subscales: Agency (the perceived capability to initiate and sustain movement toward goals) and Pathways (the perceived capability to generate routes to those goals). Study 1 provided evidence for the construct validity of the Hope Scale. Study 2 demonstrated that the Hope Scale predicted academic achievement beyond measures of IQ, SAT scores, and previous academic achievement. Study 3 showed that the Hope Scale predicted grade point average across an entire semester, whereas cognitive measures did not. Study 4 demonstrated that the Hope Scale predicted changes in depression beyond measures of dispositional and explanatory style variables. Study 5 (a longitudinal study) demonstrated that the Hope Scale predicted better adjustment to college beyond measures of personality and cognitive ability.

Keywords: hope, individual differences, measurement, academic achievement, depression



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