Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 139–152 | Cite as

“Building Hope for the Future”: A Program to Foster Strengths in Middle-School Students

  • Susana C. MarquesEmail author
  • Shane J. Lopez
  • J. L. Pais-Ribeiro
Research Paper


The authors investigated the effectiveness of a 5-week hope-based intervention designed to enhance hope, life satisfaction, self-worth, mental health and academic achievement in middle school students. The study includes a sample of 31 students from a community school, a matched comparison group of 31 students, and 2 secondary groups—guardians and teachers of the students’ intervention group. Students completed a questionnaire packet that included demographic information, the Portuguese versions of the Children’s Hope Scale, Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale, Mental Health and Self-Worth Scales. Academic achievement was obtained from school records. At baseline, groups are statistically similar on the variables of interest. At post-test the intervention group had enhanced hope, life satisfaction and self-worth. In the intervention group, benefits in hope, life satisfaction and self-worth were maintained at the 18-month follow up. Results suggest that a brief hope intervention can increase psychological strengths, and participants continue to benefit up to 1-year and 6-months later.


Academic achievement Intervention Mental-health Middle-schoolers Positive thinking variables 



This research was funded via a Foundation for the Science and Technology (FCT) grant obtained by the first author. We wish also to address our thanks to Joanna Mitchell (Monash University, Australia) for her comments on the manuscript and to Dr. Isabel Pinto (Porto University, Portugal) for her comments on the statistical analysis of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susana C. Marques
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shane J. Lopez
    • 2
  • J. L. Pais-Ribeiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.The Clifton Strengths School and GallupOmahaUSA

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