Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 269–276 | Cite as

Camp HOPE as an Intervention for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: A Program Evaluation of Hope, and Strength of Character

  • Chan M. HellmanEmail author
  • Casey Gwinn


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.


Children 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.

Ethical Approval

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

Informed consent was obtained for all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human RelationsUniversity of OklahomaTulsaUSA
  2. 2.Alliance for HOPE InternationalSan DiegoUSA

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