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Hopelessness: A Network Analysis

Abstract

Hopelessness is a complex phenomenon with important clinical consequences, such as depression and suicidality. Despite its major impact on mental health, little is known about the structure of hopelessness. In this study, hopelessness was investigated in a large community sample (n = 1985), recruited to be highly representative of general population in Germany. In the context of network analysis, state-of-the-art techniques were adopted (i) to investigate which thoughts and beliefs (nodes) are the most central ones and (ii) to shed light on the specific associations (edges) among them. Stability and accuracy were also checked to ensure trustworthiness of the findings. The analyses revealed that expecting more negative than positive future events and having important goals blocked along with feelings of giving-up were the most central elements of hopelessness. Moreover, being unable to imagine the future and perceiving it as vague and uncertain were both coupled with anticipating a dark future. Theoretical and clinical consequences of this study were discussed.

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Acknowledgements

Igor Marchetti is a postdoctoral research fellow, supported by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO14/PDO/115). The author has no competing interests in this research. The author wants to thank dr. Ernst H. W. Koster for his thoughtful and constructive comments on a previous version of this article.

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Correspondence to Igor Marchetti.

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Igor Marchetti declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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

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No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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Marchetti, I. Hopelessness: A Network Analysis. Cogn Ther Res 43, 611–619 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-018-9981-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-018-9981-y

Keywords

  • Hopelessness
  • Beck Hopelessness Scale
  • Network analysis