Camp HOPE as an Intervention for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: A Program Evaluation of Hope, and Strength of Character
Children exposed to domestic violence are at-risk for physical, mental, and social difficulties that have received an increased focus among researchers and policy makers. Using Snyder’s (2000) theory of Hope as a conceptual framework, Camp HOPE America is a summer camp program targeting school-aged children exposed to domestic violence. The purpose of this study is to present the changes in child hope before and after camp and correlate child hope to positive character strengths as rated by camp counselors. This study used a matched pretest posttest design to examine the change in hope, and strength of character among 229 school-aged children participating in Camp HOPE America. Results showed that hope, and psychological strengths improved from pre-test to post-test assessments. Additionally, children’s scores on hope were positively associated with the character strengths of zest, grit, self-control, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, and curiosity obtained from counselor observations. These findings highlight hope as a coping resource for children exposed to domestic violence and provides preliminary support Camp HOPE America as an intervention within the established Family Justice Center system in the US.
KeywordsChildren exposed to domestic violence Hope Character strength Camp HOPE
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Chan M. Hellman declares no conflict of interest. Casey Gwinn is President of Alliance for HOPE International.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the university and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained for all individual participants included in the study.
- Felitti, V. J., & Anda, R. F. (2010). The relationship of adverse childhood experiences to adult medical disease, psychiatric disorders and sexual behaviors: Implications for healthcare. In R. A. Lanius, E. Vermetten, & C. Pain (Eds.), The impact of early life trauma on health and disease: The hidden epidemic (pp. 77–87). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Hamby, S., & Ormrod, R. (2011). Polyvictimizatin: Children’s exposure to multiple types of violence, crime, and abuse. Juvenile Justice Bulletin (October, 2011). Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
- Ford, D. C., Merrick, M. T., Parks, S. E., Breiding, M. J., Gilbert, L. K., Edwards, V. J., … Barile, J. P. (2014). Examination of the factorial structure of adverse childhood experiences and recommendations for three subscale scores. Psychology of Violence, 4, 432–444.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Friere, P. (1996). Pedagogy of hope: Reliving pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Gwinn, C. (2015). Cheering for the children: Creating pathways to hope for children exposed to trauma. Tuscon, AZ: Wheatmark Press.Google Scholar
- Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Ormrod, R. (2011). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence and other family violence. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Bulletin (NCJ232272). Washington, D.C.: US Department of Justice.Google Scholar
- Litrownik, A. J., Newton, R., & Hunter, W. M. (2003). Exposure to family violence in young at-risk children: A longitudinal look at the effects of victimization and witnessed physical and psychological aggression. Journal of Family Violence, 18, Special issue: LONGSCAN and family violence, 59–73.Google Scholar
- Rapp, C. A., Saleebey, D., & Sullivan, W. P. (2005). The future of strengths-based social work. Advances in Social Work, 6, 79–90.Google Scholar
- Saleebey, D. (2000). Power in the people: Strengths and hope. Advances in Social Work, 1, 127–136.Google Scholar
- Smaldino, A. (1975). The importance of hope in the casework relationship. Social Casework, 56, 328–333.Google Scholar
- Snyder, C. R. (2005). Measuring hope in children. In K. A. Moore & L. H. Lippman (Eds.), What do children need to flourish: Conceptualizing and measuring indicators of positive development. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, W. P., & Floyd, D. F. (2013). Animating hope: An essential ingredient of strengths-based practice. In D. Saleeby (Ed.), The strengths perspective in social work perspective (6th ed., pp. 221–234). Boston, MA: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Summers, A. (2006). Children’s exposure to domestic violence: A guide to research and resources. Reno, NV: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.Google Scholar