Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 745–759

Can Hope be Changed in 90 Minutes? Testing the Efficacy of a Single-Session Goal-Pursuit Intervention for College Students

Research Paper

Abstract

Despite extensive research demonstrating relationships between hope and well being, little work addresses whether hope is malleable. We test a single-session, 90-min intervention to increase college students’ hopeful goal-directed thinking (as defined by Snyder et al. in, Pers Soc Psychol 60:570–585, 1991). To date, this study represents the only test of hope’s malleability in fewer than five sessions and contributes to the small but growing literature regarding positive-psychology interventions. This intervention is especially relevant to college students, given the increasing psychological distress and lack of perceived control noted among this population (Lewinsohn et al. in, J Abnorm Psychol 102:110–120, 1993; Twenge et al. in, Pers Soc Psychol Rev 8:308–319, 2004). Ninety-six participants were assigned to the hope intervention or one of two comparison/control conditions—progressive muscle relaxation or no intervention. Assessment occurred prior to intervention (pre-test), following intervention (post-test), and at one-month follow-up. Participants in the hope intervention showed increases in measures of hope, life purpose, and vocational calling from pre- to post-test relative to control participants. They also reported greater progress on a self-nominated goal at one-month follow-up. Counterintuitively, although hope predicted goal progress, hope did not mediate the relationship between intervention condition and goal progress. Implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.

Keywords

Hope theory Goals Goal-specific hope Single-session intervention Positive-psychology intervention College students Purpose in life 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling Psychology, Loyola HallSanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

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