An Essay About Hope

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Hope is the foundation of the H-CAP paradigm. It promotes motivation to work toward reaching goals. People who are optimistic focus not on what can be done, but on how it can be done. The paper established that hope best fits Snyder's hope theory. The philosophy is founded on four tenets that promote optimistic thinking. Goals, paths, agency, and impediments are all examples.

The research included numerous hope measurement instruments and their scores. Sympson developed the Adult Disposition Hope Scale (ADHS), Adult State Hope Scale (ASHS), and Adult Domain Specific Hope Scale (DSHS) (Lopez et al., 2000). These measures, however, present some challenges, and one measure is a solution to the challenge presented by the other. Hope theory has received several criticisms such as failing to include similar concepts such as optimism and self-efficacy ( Wogan 2013).

Several uses of hope theory have been presented in the school set up. This includes helping students to set goals. Goals help students to focus their energy on achieving specific laid down objectives. In the school set up, a student may set up goals of improving his academic performance grades to a specific level.

Another use of hope theory in a school setting is to help students develop pathway thinking. This encompasses breaking down large goals into sub-goals that a student will invest his time in realizing them and also develop alternative routes incase he meets barriers while working on a particular goal. The alternative routes encourage students to keep on pursuing the goals without giving up. It motivates resilience.

The third use of hope theory is in helping students enhance their agency. This use ensures that students pick on those goals that are important. Psychologists play in handy in identifying important goals to students. Students are also encouraged to settle on the goals they have passion in without being coerced or influenced by peers, parents or teachers.

Lastly, the paper has looked into how hope theory can be useful in enhancing hope in teachers. A hopeful teacher produces hopeful students, and vice versa is true. Psychologists are thus encouraged to help teachers develop high hopes in life so that they can also teach and bring up hopeful students. They are also to monitor teachers to identify signs of burnout and help them overcome such challenges.


Hope forms the foundation for H-CAP model. It supports Commitment, Accountability, and Passion. According to Shane J. Lopez, hope can be likened to oxygen because humans cannot live without hope. From her three meta-analyses, hope plays a significant role in every aspect of our lives. For instance, excelling in class and at the workplace can all be attributed to hope. She further asserts that being excited about ‘what next” is the results in more investment in our daily thus leading to seeing beyond the challenges we currently face. Abi-Hasheem, another psychologist, observes that hope increases the willingness to work towards achieving a goal. It is an encouragement towards seeing things positively (Lopez 2013).

Encouragement should, however, be innate too. Though one can receive encouragement from family, friends or other individuals, it is of significance to derive hope from within. According to the text, people who are hopeful do not dwell on what can be done but on how it can be done. Book provides several techniques that can be used in developing hope. The first technique is to quit making excuses. According to this strategy, thinking is what makes the difference between the well-being and those who are not. This statement is supported by Snyder (2013) who points out that those who are hopeful achieve more than the less hopeful and are psychologically and physically healthier. Others include: learning to encourage oneself, self-training to become more positive, taking small steps, pursuing dreams courageously, and lastly giving up the blame game. Lopez posits that hope encompasses a myriad of emotions such as excitement and joy. It is the combination of heart and head and the golden mean between euphoria and fear. Being powerful, hope impacts even those who are around us (Lopez 2013).

Most often people confuse hope and optimism. However, Lopez distinguishes between the two and describes optimism as an attitude. It is about thoughts of a better future than today. Contrastingly, hope is the belief in a good future and how to make it happen. In a study conducted by three Indian researchers to examine the presence and severity of depression and extent of negative attitudes about the future in institutionalized elderly in India, the study established a correlation between depression and hopelessness in the elderly (Sarin et al. 2016). The work of Lopez in which she asserts that one’s hope is dependent on social network gives credence to this study.

Hope Theory

Having been fascinated by the concept of forgiveness and hope, Snyder devised the theory of hope. According to the theory, three core things develop hopeful thinking. These are:

Goals. Snyder describes hope as the sustainer of hope as they are responsible for providing direction and an ending for hopeful thinking.

Pathways. This refers to the manner in which we achieve our goals.

Agency . This is the belief that you can initiate a change and realize set out goals.

Barriers. These are what hinder the process of achieving our goals which may result in one giving up.

According to Snyder, hopeful thinkers are individuals who can set out clear goals, think of ways of achieving them and exude confidence while perseverance in the event of coming across obstacles on your way to achieving the laid down goals. Whereas positive emotions have been linked to the achievement of goals (Lopez 2013), barriers are associated with negative emotions, but this should be noted that it is occasional. People with high hopes differ on how they react to barriers with those with low hopes. The hopefuls view blockages as challenges that need to be overcome and devise a new approach through which they can achieve their goals. Some beneficial constructs have direct links to hope. For instance, academic achievement will depend whether one has high hopes or low hopes. Additionally, with high hopes, the levels of depression are reduced (Snyder et al. 2003). This can also be supported by the research done by Sarin and her colleagues (2016).

Levels of hope, pathway thoughts and agency can be assessed through some measurement tools with distinct purposes. Snyder (1995 cited in Lopez et al. 2000) suggests several uses of such tools such as prediction of outcomes besides offering support for the lowly hoped especially in an educational set up where it has been established that hope has an impact in achievements. This theory presents Adult Disposition Hope Scale (ADHS) as the first assessment tool (Snyder et al., 1991). This tool has twelve questions. The total hope score ranges between 8 and 64 and agency score ranging between four and thirty-two. High scores mean a high level of hope (Lopez et al. 2000).

The second tool advocated by Snyder is the six self-item self-report questionnaires Adult State Hope Scale (ASHS). This tool examines goal-directed thinking in any given situation (Lopez et al., 2000). It is intended to tap into adult’s state of hope. It has three agency items and three pathway items. A Likert scale with an 8 point is utilized in scoring, and the overall hope is realized through summing the even numbered items to identify an agency score while the odd numbers give pathway scores. A range of 6 to 48 gives the total hope score while subscale ranges from 3 to 24 whereas the highest score represents the high hope (Lopez et al. 2000).

Another notable measurement tool is the Adult Domain Specific Hope Scale (DSHS). This was developed by Sympson (Lopez et al., 2000) as a result of ADHS and ASHS’s’ shortcomings (Lopez et al. 2000). Accordingly, one may have high hopes in as far as his/her career is concerned but have low hopes in relationships. The above measures are, therefore, not capable of capturing the discrepancies in such a person’s hope profile. This tool measures the level of dispositional hope in six specific areas namely; family, social, work/occupation, academic, leisure activities and romance/relationships (Lopez et al., 2000).

48 items make up this scale. This means that each domain has eight items scored on an 8 point Likert Scale. The sum of all the 48 items gives the total hope score with a range of 48 to 384. On the other hand, the domain specific hope score is achieved through summing the eight items in each domain with scores ranging from 8 to 64. In this measurement, the high score indicates a high level of hope (Lopez et al. 2000).

Criticism of Hope Theory

Hope theory has been criticized for failing to incorporate similar concepts such as optimism and self-efficacy (Wogan 2013). Aspinwall and Leaf further posit that the theory has put more emphasis on personal agency neglecting social contexts that influence perceptions and events (Aspinwall & Leaf 2002). In defense, according to Lopez (2007), Snyder may argue that individuals with high hopes irrespective of hardship are likely to discern pathways in attaining their goals. Lazarus additionally argues that self-efficacy is not essential to hope but facilitates hope and help in mobilizing coping actions centered on problems (Wogan 2013).

Use of Hope within Hope Theory

Helping students into setting up goals

The reason why hope is imparted on students is to help them develop goals which are calibrated to the age of a student and the given circumstances. For instance, grade school students cannot have same goals as those students from junior schools. Adolescents are mostly in need of encouragement to have set goals in several domains in life. At times, the goals may involve interpersonal issues such as the desire to meet new friends and at times may pertain selection of a career or making the decision on whether to join college. Helping students set up several achievable goals will help them shift to their important goals when one encounters barriers (Snyder et al. 2003). A school psychologist can come up with specific goals for a student depending on the results of the tools taping abilities, values and interests. What follows then is setting clear markers for individual goals and which will facilitate students trace their advancement towards achieving their goals. “getting a good grade” is a vague goal that lacks clarity and is not easily to establish when they have been attained (Snyder et al. 2003).

Students help also comes in the form of encouragement in developing approach goal. This is an effort towards ensuring something is achieved and is the contrast to avoidance goals in which student attempt precluding the realization of something (Snyder et al. 2000). It is, therefore, imperative to initiate universal and targeted applications of hope raising strategies. In other words, psychologists may develop group-based methods intended for uplifting all students’ hopeful thinking regardless of their trait levels or school related hope. Special methodologies may be adopted to identify students with low levels of hope in raising their hopeful thinking. Several standard testing instruments can be used for individual students. Such include Children’s Hope Scale for the young children and Hope Scale for age fifteen and above. These tools are aimed at tapping interests as well as aptitudes (Snyder et al. 2003).

Helping Students Develop Pathway Thinking

Breaking down large goals into small achievable sub-goals is one standard technique in enhancing pathways. Arguably, low hoped students mostly find it difficult to make subgoals since they hold the perception that goals should be undertaken all at once. It could be true that their guardians may not have given such students proper instructions on the planning process. Given that blockages are common and unavoidable in life (Snyder et al. 2003), students without alternative pathways may end up dejected when they come across the barriers. In line with this, previous studies have linked school drop outs to low hope students. It is, therefore, paramount to equip students with knowledge on developing alternative pathways in attaining their desired goals.

Moreover, it is of significance to produce future pathways in addition to the maintenance of agency so that students understand that barriers are not as a result of his or her lack of talent. A more productive approach to using when encountering blockages is to identifying a failed path toward attainment of goals thus helping one to develop alternative working route (Snyder et al. 2003).

Helping Students Enhance their Agency

It is imperative to check for the goals that students have chosen to ascertain whether they are the most important goals. This is because their goals may be imposed to them by their parents, peers or teachers. As such, students may not fully own the goals as a result of lack of motivation and thus achieving them may prove difficult. According to research having pleasure in meeting such goals is daunting. Students need to have personal goals that meet their needs to derive intrinsic motivation. Moreover, when they develop their goals, they own them thus advancing a sense of challenge which ultimately is motivating.

Students need to be encouraged to keep personal diaries that will help establish whether their internal conversations are high or low. In as much as students can be cruel to others, they can also be critical to themselves, and this is only helped by the personal diaries. Consequently, students with low-hope internal conversations can be trained on how to abandon or challenge the negative overcritical talks such students should be taught how to replace the negative thoughts with positive, realistic and productive thoughts.

Enhancing hope in teachers

School psychologists should not limit their focus to students only but should also extend to teachers. Teachers should be advised to show firmness, fairness and consistency to induce hope in their students (Snyder et al. 2003). In line with these, teachers have the responsibility to create an environment that makes students responsible for their actions. Having established order and responsibility, a teacher should after that inculcate element of trust in students in the class. Whereas learning encompasses risks taking, it will be difficult for students to adhere to the teacher’s plans unless they feel assured they will not be demeaned but rather respected.

Teachers with high hopes have clear set out objectives which they are conveyed to students. Both teachers and students will realize growth when goals are made factual, comprehensible and split into sub-goals. In order to raise students’ motivation, teachers have to be enthused regarding what they are teaching. Hopeful teaching is beneficial to both students and teachers provided the teacher has enthusiasm which is considered contagious.

Psychologists have to be observant to identify possibilities of burnout in teachers and the loss of individual hopes which are prevalent in teachers (Snyder et al. 2003). Teachers thus need to be encouraged to remain focused in pursuit of their important goals in life outside the classroom. Having hope in you makes it easier to model hope for others.


This paper has discussed hope as a factor and further presented the fundamentals of hope theory by Snyder. Besides, the paper has delved into some of the criticism of the theory from other scholars. Lastly, the paper has presented the use of Hope Theory in a school set up. All in all, for one to be resilient, he or she has to have an abundance of hope.


Aspinwall, L. & Leaf, S. (2002). In search of the unique aspects of hope: pinning our hopes on positive emotions, future-oriented thinking, hard times, and other people. Psychological Inquiry, 13(4).

Lopez, S. J. (2013). Making hope happen: Create the future you want for yourself and others. Simon and Schuster.

Sarin, K., Punyaapriya, P., Sethi, S., & Nagar, I. (2016). Depression and Hopelessness in Institutionalized Elderly: A Societal Concern. Open Journal of Depression, 5(03), 21.

Snyder, C. R. (2000). The past and future of hope. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19,11–28.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., Shorey, H. S., Rand, K. L., & Feldman, D. B. (2003). Hope theory, measurements, and applications to school psychology. School psychology quarterly, 18(2), 122.

Snyder, C.R., Ilardi, S., Cheavens, J., Michael, S., Yamhure, L., & Sympson, S. (2000). The role of hope in cognitive-behavior therapies. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 24(6).

Worgan, T. (2013). Hope theory in coaching: How clients respond to interventions based on Snyder’s theory of hope. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 7-100.

April 26, 2023

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