SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH OF HOPE
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH OF HOPE

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH OF HOPE

The concept of hope is defined in different ways in the literature. Romero (1989) defines hope as the emotional element of the expectation of reaching the goal. Larsen, Edey, and Lemay (2007) summarize the features that emerge from the definitions made about hope and show that hope is multidimensional as follows: According to them, hope is dynamic, it is the basis of life as there will be no purpose and meaning of hopeless life, it is future-oriented, it is personally meaningful and can be understood subjectively, the purpose is oriented. (Owen)

According to the philosopher Gabriel Marcel, hope creates a sense of existence in people, prevents the person’s alienation and leads to a determination for self-realization. On the other hand, Friedrich Nietzsche approached hope pessimistically and stated that hope increases the duration of human suffering. According to Erik Erikson, hope is a persistent belief that one can achieve one’s wishes. According to Staats, it is the interaction between wants and expectations. Philosophers such as Kant and Hume, on the other hand, considered hope as an emotion inherent in human nature. (Curun)

Hope is wanting, finding new ways to fulfill wishes, and not giving up. For this reason, it is very important to be hopeful in coping with the difficulties encountered in life, improving adverse conditions and making dreams come true (Fromm, 1868)


Hope is the determining element of any social change that is intended to achieve greater vitality, greater sensitivity and fluency. However, the nature of hope has often been misunderstood. Is it really hopeful when the object of hope is not something, but to live a fuller life, to be more energetic, to get rid of that endless boredom, or when theologically speaking it is to be cleansed from sins, or politically to achieve revolution? In fact, such expectations can mean hope, but if there is passivity in expectations and hope becomes an excuse for surrender and surrender, it is not possible to talk about hope if it only manifests itself as waiting until it becomes an ideology. (From)
Hope is self-contradictory. It is neither passive waiting, nor an unrealistic forcing of impossible conditions. To hope means to be ready at all times for what has not yet been born, but not to fall into despair if the birth does not take place within our lifetime. There is no point in hoping for something that already exists or will never exist. Those with weak hopes are either callous or inclined to violence. Those with strong hopes see all the signs of new life and rejoice in it, and are always ready to help what is ready to give birth into existence. (From)
Hope is a state of being. It is the internal readiness of intense, but not yet spent, activity. Hope is a spiritual element that accompanies and accompanies life and growth. When hope is gone, life is factually or latently (potentially) over. Hope is an element in the nature of life, in the dynamics of the human spirit. (From)


It is not only the individual who lives with hope. Nations and social classes also live on the strength of hope, faith, and resistance. If they lose this latent power, they perish either because of their lack of vitality or because of the irrational destructiveness they have developed. The following fact should not be overlooked here: The development of hope or despair in an individual is largely determined by the presence of hope or despair in the society or class to which he or she belongs. No matter how much an individual’s hope is broken in his childhood, when he lives in a period of hope and belief, the sparks of his own hope will be revived. On the other hand, the person whose experience has led him to be hopeful will often tend to be hopeless and dejected when his society or class loses its air of hope. (From)

It is not only the individual who lives with hope. Nations and social classes also live on the strength of hope, faith, and resistance. If they lose this latent power, they perish either because of their lack of vitality or because of the irrational destructiveness they have developed. The following fact should not be overlooked here: The development of hope or despair in an individual is largely determined by the presence of hope or despair in the society or class to which he or she belongs. No matter how much an individual’s hope is broken in his childhood, when he lives in a period of hope and belief, the sparks of his own hope will be revived. On the other hand, the person whose experience has led him to be hopeful will often tend to be hopeless and dejected when his society or class loses its air of hope. (From)

Hope has an important role in increasing the quality of life by reducing psychological symptoms, increasing psychological resilience and protecting the individual from obstacles and returns. (Snyder, 2002) Snyder (2006) states in studies conducted with different ethnic groups that hopeful thinking does not seem to be hereditary, on the contrary, it is learned from childhood. The first scientific studies on hope started in the field of psychiatry with the studies of Frankl (1959) and Menninger (1959). Based on his personal experience in scavenging, Frankl stated that the absence of hope leads to despair and the meaninglessness of life. In the 1990s, hope began to be considered as a capacity perception related to the motivation of the individual to reach the desired goal and to find ways to reach the goal. (Owen)

Snyder’s Theory of Hope and Hope in Positive Psychology

According to Snyder (1995, 2002), hope consists of three cognitive dimensions: activating thinking (motivation and cognitive energy to reach a goal) and thinking about ways to reach the goal (considering different ways of reaching the goal) and planning. Goal setting is the first element of hope. Besides goals, two other closely related components of hope are goal-directed motivation and ways of reaching the goal. (Owen) Snyder, Feldman et al. stated that hope consists of three components named as goals, thinking of alternative ways, and agency thinking. In this context, Snyder hope has been defined as a type of goal-directed thinking in which individuals see themselves as capable of producing, activating and constantly using paths leading to desired goals. Purpose reflects the perception of individual capacity, increases self-efficacy and the individual’s ability to cope with the world. (Hendrick, 2002) (Tarhan)


The first component, purpose, is the cognitive part of the hope model, the desired endpoint, and the mainstay of hopeful thinking. Individuals with a high level of hope produce more goals, choose challenging goals, and act decisively to achieve them. The second component of Snyder’s hope model, the idea of ​​alternative ways, is the individual’s perception of his or her capacity to make successful plans and produce ways to achieve desired goals under normal or challenging conditions. (Snyder 1997) The third component, activating thinking, is the extent to which an individual perceives himself to be competent in starting and maintaining alternative ways in the process of achieving his desired goals. This component enables the generation of alternative routes, especially when encountering obstacles. (Snyder 2002) (Tarhan)
Snyder, Cheavens (2000) discusses optimism, self-efficacy, self-worth (self-esteem), happiness, life satisfaction, meaning of life and problem solving among the concepts with which the concept of hope is closely related. Explains that hope is different from optimism after it is stated that it is associated with positive outcomes related to psychological adjustment, success, problem solving, and health. Optimism emphasizes action, while hope involves the mutual contribution of thinking about ways to both take action and lead to goals. (Owen) Hope is a central human emotion, but many people confuse the concept of hope with “optimism”, the dominant notion that “things will get better”. But hope is different from optimism. Hope does not emerge from the discourse of “think positive”. Hope is an emotion that emerges when we can see ways to a better future with the eye of the mind. Hope accepts certain obstacles and pitfalls along this path. Hope gives us the courage to face and overcome the circumstances that come our way. With these aspects, hope has a special place in positive psychology. (Daytime)

Seligman (2002) considers the field of positive psychology as the study of positive subjective experiences, positive personal dispositions, and programs that support improving one’s quality of life. Positive psychology focuses on the positive aspects of the individual. At the subjective level, well-being is concerned with the value of subjective phrases such as contentment and satisfaction (past), hope and optimism (future), and flow and happiness (now). Today, mental health studies that focus on people’s strengths have become the focus of positive psychology. Studies in the field of positive psychology challenge pathology-oriented approaches that ignore the positive aspects that make life meaningful in the past of psychological sciences. Its main purpose is to examine the high-level functioning of human beings and to reveal their strengths and potential. Thus, the operability of the human being negatively

It supports general well-being by avoiding emphasizing aspects. It focuses on adaptive function rather than maladaptive function and strengths and abilities rather than weaknesses. Therefore, positive psychology aims to define resilience rather than risk. (Seligman 2000) (Kizil) At the individual level, it is related to positive individual characteristics such as love, capacity for the profession, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensitivity, perseverance, forgiveness, freedom, future awareness, spirituality and wisdom. Hope is among the protective factors in the resilience literature. A person must be psychologically sound in order to survive in adversity, to dream about the future, and to achieve his goals. (Red)
Hope is one of the important concepts of positive psychology, which strengthens mental and physical health and ensures the survival of people by adding meaning to life. For this reason, it is directly or indirectly related to other concepts of positive psychology, such as self-esteem, optimism, problem solving, well-being, life satisfaction, leadership. (Tarhan)


When the individual reviews his previous lives, realizing that he has set realistic goals and can find alternative ways to reach his goal allows him to set new goals for the future and to feel power to reach them. Therefore, self-efficacy is a concept closely related to hope, which is one of the important concepts of positive psychology. (Tarhan)
Hope by Development Period

Hope, which has a very important place in human life, can be clearly observed in goal-oriented behaviors, especially after the age of one. The development of hope is closely related to family atmosphere, parental attitudes, attachment and loneliness. (Star)

Hope enables the person to see that he can find ways to reach the goal depending on his previous experiences, to feel the desire to reach the result when faced with new goals, and to have a sense of confidence that he can find new ways (Snyder 1996). Since these years, Snyder (2000) emphasizes that the experience of goal setting, reaching the goal and finally getting satisfaction is an important factor in the formation of hope in adulthood. According to him, the child’s experiences with their parents are important in the formation of hope-related schemas. (Star)

In the theory of hope he developed, Snyder states that the secure and supportive relationship established with the parents in the development of hopeful attitudes is important in the formation of the hope level of the person. Moreover, he uses the term “coaching” to describe the role of parents as teaching and modeling. Children with a high level of hope define themselves as individuals who can reach their goals during the growth process. (Star)

As a cognitive mechanism involving emotion, the development of hope can be considered as a learning process. This learning process is closely related to parenting attitudes, attachment and loneliness. Individuals who cannot foresee their limits, perceive themselves as worthless and have difficulties in establishing close relationships also experience significant difficulties in setting realistic goals, producing ways to those goals, and motivating themselves, which are the basic components of hope. (Star)
Concept of Hope in Infancy (0-2 years): Hope, in general terms, occurs during the time that the newborn baby spends before he even starts walking. From birth to 12 months of age, defining and perceiving emotions, connecting between events, setting goals develops gradually. realization of power matures. (Snyder, 2000)

It is important to establish a reliable bond with the caregiver in the development of hope. A bond established with trust gives children a sense of empowerment and pursuing their desired goals. (Aydogan)

The Concept of Hope in Preschool Period (3-6 years):

This period is a period in which language skills develop. Words are a shared system for describing objects in the world. Language is used to set goals and find ways to reach them. Thus, a preschooler’s burgeoning hopes are built through language. (Snyder 2003) In this period, especially stories and fairy tales form a scenario that can be kept for later use by young and malleable minds. The building block of a hope lesson for a preschool child is possible by raising awareness of the fact that a person’s pursuit of their own goals is in the same social environment as other individuals who want to achieve their goals. (Snyder 2000) (Aydogan)

The Concept of Hope in the School Period (7-12 Years):

School-age children try to discover the skills that will lead them to read. It is important for the cognitive process that a child begins to read by naming the symbolic forms that make up the writing. From the perspective of hope theory, children meet with goal-based stories from their childhood. During this period, children’s mental capacities also increase. This increase has a positive effect on goal-based thinking; so that children can clearly imagine goals and paths to follow. Children have hope-based thinking structures in their minds (Snyder, 2000). (Aydogan)

The Concept of Hope in Adolescence (13-18 Years):

As adolescence boys and girls mature sexually, their relationship patterns enter the typical path of relationship formation that allows them to explore their sexual identity. Findings on adolescents’ views about themselves and the future reveal that hopeful thinking is positively correlated with acquired skills, self-esteem and self-worth, and negatively correlated with depression symptoms. (Snyder, 1997) Researchers stated that low hope levels also increase depression symptoms. Another finding is that children, adolescents and young adults with high hope levels have positive self-esteem.

Looking at the future views of adolescents, it can be said that those with high hope levels are more optimistic, focus more on success while trying to reach goals, develop many goals for life, and perceive themselves as individuals with the ability to solve problems that may arise. Likewise, a recent study states that having a high level of hope is associated with having clearer goals in life. In a study conducted on university students in Turkey, it was determined that there was a significant difference between being hopeful for the future, being satisfied with life and self-esteem. It is thought that being hopeful for the future shows that individuals have a positive thought and mood about life, and it can also create a positive change in the individual’s feelings and thoughts about himself. (Aydogan) (Oner Altinok)

Hope and the Meaning of Life


Human behavior is goal-oriented, which is the first component of hope, and hope provides focus on achieving the goal. According to this model, goals are inferred from the individual’s desires and life experiences. Goals can be determined as long or short-term, as well as those that are certain to be realized and those that are less likely to be realized. The critical point here is that the purpose has a value for someone, in other words, it has meaning, it is achievable and contains some uncertainty. (Snyder, 2002, 2005) The individual’s leaving the safe space of the present and heading towards a new and uncertain future creates anxiety in him. However, this anxiety, depending on its level, is also the first signal of change. The most important supporter of an individual’s ability to struggle with his anxiety is the quality that the purpose he has determined adds to his life. Thanks to the meaning he attributes to his purpose, the individual will make more effort to reach it, and will also cope with the obstacles in a more practical way. According to Snyder, the point to consider here is the quality of purpose. Because the individual clings to life only in line with his goals, produces, undertakes his responsibilities, in other words, gives meaning to his life through his goals. (Yellow Rose)
Individuals who have difficulty in attaching meaning have difficulty in creating goals and values ​​that occur as a result of the realization of different conditions over time. Although this situation is related to a mechanization process brought about by the modern age, not every individual falls into existential neurosis. Existential neurosis is the state of not knowing directly about oneself and what to do, and includes hopelessness. For this reason, individuals who cannot determine a life purpose or have fallen into an existential void actually suffer from a sense of meaninglessness and exhibit a depressive attitude. Studies show that the meaning attributed to life is related to depression, well-being, social support, and physical health. According to another study supporting this research, low meaning of life was associated with depression and hopelessness. (Yellow Rose)
The second component of Hope is the ability to produce alternative ways to reach the goal. This skill is a mental roadmap of what an individual can teach to achieve his/her purpose and is a capacity indicator. In other words, the individual is currently dreaming of a dream and transfers his dream to the future by developing different coping methods in the face of the difficulties he may encounter in order to realize this dream. In other words, someone establishes a mental link between the present and the future (Cheavens, 2006) (Sarıgül)
The last component of hope is the desire to reach the goal and the power of the individual to realize this desire. This power is fed by the individual’s belief in the correctness of the decisions he will make in reaching his past, present and future goals. The individual decides to use a way to reach the goal only thanks to this power and continues to use this way. (Snyder, 1999) (Sarıgül)


Change actually arises from the individual’s belief that he or she can succeed. It should be known that hope is directly related to the meaning attributed to life. It is known that individuals who give meaning to their lives have higher motivation to achieve their goals. In addition, hope is related to the life events that the individual desires, that is, the basic life needs such as family, career, lifestyle that fulfill the individual’s personal wishes. Because life goals are based on the long term and the determination and regulation of individuals’ psycho-social areas affects their whole life. Therefore, the individual’s self and “existential” capacity are strengthened by the role he chooses. (Yellow Rose)

Source:

Yıldız, Aylin Demirli; Pozitif Psikoloji Bağlamında Umut; Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık, 2016

Owen, Prof. Dr. Fidan Korkut; Psikolojik Danışma Sürecinde Umutsuzluk Yerine Umudu Kullanma; Psikoloji Bağlamında Umut; Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık, 2016

Çetin, Yrd. Doç. Dr. Hicran Gündüz; 21. Yüzyılda Pozitif Psikolojinin Parçası Olarak Umut Ve Türkiye’deki Yeri, ; Psikoloji Bağlamında Umut; Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık, 2016

Tarhan, Yrd. Doç. Dr. Sinem; Öz Yeterlik, Kişilik Özellikleri Ve Umut; Psikoloji Bağlamında Umut; Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık, 2016

Kızıl, Zeynep Öğr. Gör. ; Psikolojik Sağlamlık Ve Umut, Psikoloji Bağlamında Umut; Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık, 2016

Sarıgül Gizem, Öğr. Gör. ; Bir Zihinsel Yolculuk Anlamdan Umuda; Psikoloji Bağlamında Umut; Nobel akademik Yayıncılık,2016

Fromm, Erik; Umut Devrimi, Payel Yayınevi, 2012

Other Resources:

Frankl, V, İnsanın Anlam Arayışı, 1959

Larsen, D; Understanding The Role of Hope in Councelling, Councelling Physchology Quarterly

Snyder, C. R. ; Handbook of Hope: Theory, Measures and Applications, 2000

Snyder, C. R. ; Handbook of Psychological Change: Psychotherapy Processes and Practices for the 21st Century, 2000

Snyder, C. R. ; The Great Big Book of Hope: Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams, 2000

Snyder, C. R. ; Coping with Stress, 2001

Snyder, C. R. ; Lopez Shene Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures, 2003

Snyder, C. R. ; Lopez Shane, Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strength, 2008

Snyder, C. R. ; Lopez S; Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 2009, 2011

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