6.1 Introduction

In previous chapters, hope was defined as a wish or desire related to the attainment of an important future good of which the realization is considered to be possible (although not necessarily probable) and trust in the availability of personal and other resources to overcome obstacles and setbacks. Averill and his colleagues (Averill et al., 1990; Averill & Sundararajan, 2005) reported that people in diverse cultures differ not only in relation to the targets they hope for, but also regarding the actions performed to achieve their hopes and the sources which support their hopes in difficult situations. On the one hand, activities and sources of hope can be based on one’s own resources and capabilities (e.g., working harder, assessing the situation more accurately, being more creative etc.). On the other hand, hope can be nurtured by activities entailing social support as well as spiritual, religious and other sources of faith (e.g., praying and meditating). Trust, faith and social support are particularly important when people feel they can do little to get their hopes fulfilled, either because they encounter their own limitations (e.g., a lack of knowledge or experience) or because their hopes are directed towards other people or to external events out of their control (e.g., the well-being of a family member or the weather) (Bruininks & Malle, 2005; Tennen et al., 2002; Tong et al., 2010).

In this chapter we aim to contribute to the knowledge of hope in two ways: Firstly, by theoretically investigating the concepts of trust and confidence in relation to hope. For this purpose, we adopted an interdisciplinary approach integrating psychological and philosophical perspectives with the discipline of Risk Management (e.g., Earle & Siegrist, 2006). Secondly, we explore and evaluate several sources and activities of hope across countries with a particular emphasis on trust and social support. How people hope and whom they generally trust can be better understood by assessing what people do to get their hopes fulfilled and which sources they connect with in order to remain hopeful, especially in times of struggle and disillusionment. In doing so, we address the third element in the proposed hope model, which is the trust in the availability of personal and other external resources as demonstrated in concrete activities and sources of hope.

6.2 Theoretical Background

6.2.1 Hope and Trust

Over the last decades, psychological theories and research on hope have evolved in two different directions. On the one hand, theories which emphasize the cognitive and individual dimensions, and on the other hand, psychological and philosophical works which highlight the emotional, social, and spiritual roots of hope. In the first category, hope has been conceptualized and investigated within a cognitive framework of self-regulation and goal-setting (Snyder, 2000; Stotland, 1969). One of the most prominent cognitive hope theories is that of Snyder (2000), which focuses on individual goals, together with the personal determination (will-power) and ability (way-power) to achieve these goals. According to Snyder (2002, p. 249): “Hope is defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways.” Agency, is basically the conviction that “I can do this” and pathways involve the self-confidence that “I’ll find a way to get this done!” (Snyder, 2002, p. 251). This conceptualization of hope is fundamentally based on cognition, personal control and achievement and makes no distinction regarding different types of hoped-for ends.

Several authors in psychology and other disciplines have consistently argued and empirically demonstrated that hope is much more than a goal-setting process along with the personal will-power and capability to achieve individual goals (Averill et al., 1990; Bruininks & Malle, 2005; Farran et al., 1995; Scioli & Biller, 2009; Tennen et al., 2002). For Scioli and his colleagues (Scioli et al., 2016) fundamental hope is not only about personal mastery and individual goals, but likewise and principally about attachment, interpersonal trust, connection to other people as well as to a spiritual higher power. These psychologists have encouraged researchers to recognize the relevance of social relationships and to incorporate other elements such as trust in the conceptualization and investigation of hope. According to these authors, hope is to a large extent, emotional in nature and comprises a sense of trust that can be manifested in many different forms: trust in others (e.g., friends, therapists, and teachers), trust in the meaningfulness of things, trust in the benevolence of the world, trust in a higher power etc. From this point of view, trust is a constitutive and fundamental feature of hope (Tennen et al., 2002).

Erikson (1950) was one of the first psychologists to emphasize the role of a basic sense of trust in the formation of the fundamental virtue of hope. In his developmental theory, hope is the phenomenon emerging from the positive resolution of the existential conflict between fear and trust, which leaves a lasting tendency in the child to believe in the fulfilment of his/her existential needs despite the distress and the anger associated with them. Hope is the first human virtue that grows in the context of reliable and predictable bonds to caregivers in the form of primal trust, and becomes an essential part of one’s own biography and character strength. This basic trust and hope become part of human identity, a basic sense of communion with other people, and of order and consistency between past, present and future, which is maintained throughout life. In this sense, fundamental hope and trust are the conditions for human life and human development par excellence. The initial basic trust in the caregivers expands in subsequent phases of life to trust in institutions of the social environment, which is why hope is fundamentally a dynamic and socio-psychological phenomenon in Erikson’s work. Since hope in the future is based on a general and superior sense of belonging and togetherness, it can be sustained even in the face of specific threats and frustrations.

6.2.2 Distinguishing Trust and Confidence

In order to understand the phenomenon of trust in the context of hope, we turn to the Risk Management Model of Earle and Siegrist (2006), together with the work of other authors that have conceptually and empirically distinguished between the experiences of trust and confidence (for an overview, see Adams, 2005; Luhmann, 1988; Perry, 2011; White, 2009). Based on previous works of Rousseau et al. (1998), Rempel et al. (1985), Deutsch (1973), and Rotter (1980) among others, Earle and Siegrist developed the TCC model (Trust, Confidence and Cooperation). Rousseau et al. (1998) proposed that there are three basic forms of trust, which correspond to different psychological processes: calculative, relational and institutional trust. Calculative trust is based on rational behavioral calculations, institutional trust relies on institutional controls and relational trust is rooted in social relationships.

Referring to the work of Luhmann (1988) and based on their own empirical studies, Earle and Siegrist (2006) made a clear conceptual distinction between confidence (calculative and institutional) and trust (relational) as two different psychological states. Whereas trust is defined “as the willingness to make oneself vulnerable to another based on a judgement of similarity of intentions or values”, confidence, in contrast, “is the belief, based on experience or evidence (e.g., past performance), that certain future events will occur as expected.” (Earle, 2009, p. 786). For the purpose of our study, we will explain these two concepts more in detail and relate them to the concepts of perceived hope (Krafft et al., 2017), dispositional optimism (Scheier & Carver, 1987) and dispositional hope (Snyder, 2000, 2002). General Confidence and Self-Confidence

According to authors in the discipline of risk management, confidence is basically an intellectual, cognitive, analytical, and rational phenomenon rooted in judgements of past performance, objective facts, and personal or institutional control (Earle, 2001; Keller et al., 2011). Confidence arises as a result of specific knowledge and is built on reason and facts (Shaw, 1997). At the personal level, the antecedents of confidence are ability, competence and past performance. Furthermore, we rely on people that have already proved to be capable of performing a certain task and to generate the expected results. From an institutional point of view, confidence is related to regulations, social norms and institutions (political, economic etc.), that constrain future outcomes and make them foreseeable (Earle et al., 2001). Confidence is therefore linked to stability, consistency of past behaviors, objective facts, and all sorts of rules and routines (Earle, 2001). While trust relates to people, confidence is put in material objects like a bridge, an impersonal social system (e.g., a regulatory body) or in people treated like performance factors (Earle & Siegrist, 2006; Ullmann-Margalit, 2004). Whereas the scope of trust is cooperation and solidarity, the scope of confidence is accuracy and capabilities.

Confidence emerges in situations where the level of control and the ascribed probability of a certain outcome seem to be high and uncertainty is perceived as low (Adams, 2005). General confidence is therefore “the belief that things in general are under control, uncertainty is low, and events will occur as expected” (Earle, 2001, p. 32). In a broader sense, general confidence is the positive expectation that society can cope with future challenges and that everything is under control (Keller et al., 2011). In psychological terms, general confidence in the proper functioning of other people and the efficacy of social institutions is like a buffer which reduces tension and anxiety and conveys a feeling of security. Similar to unrealistic optimism (Weinstein, 1980), these beliefs can sometimes be positive illusions that help people cope with difficult life events with the often unconscious expectation of not being harmed or disappointed (Luhmann, 1988). Although confidence is an expectation about the future, its function is to reduce complexity and increase the sense of certainty and controllability either through extrapolation of knowledge from the past or by imposing constraints on the future (Earle, 2010).

A special type of confidence is the notion of self-confidence, which comprises beliefs in personal success, achievements, persistence, courage and self-awareness (White, 2009). Self-confidence is the confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities supporting the belief of one’s competence to successfully complete a task (Lundberg, 2008; Perry, 2011). To feel self-confident, one firstly assesses his or her knowledge, abilities and skills in relation to a certain task or challenge. Based on this assessment, one develops a belief about how successful one will be (Koriat et al., 1980). How close the conceptualization of self-confidence is to Snyder’s concept of dispositional hope is demonstrated by the following features: A recurrent characteristic in the definition of self-confidence is the personal belief that in a certain situation one can attain a positive outcome (Gesell, 2007; Mellalieu et al., 2006). The opposite of self-confidence is self-doubt and the fear of failure when confronted with upcoming tasks (Oleson et al., 2000). Another feature of self-confidence is persistence in the face of obstacles toward the accomplishment of personal goals (Hutchinson & Mercier, 2004). A third element is self-awareness and self-esteem in relation to an internal locus of control (Schunk & Pajares, 2005). The elements of self-confidence are in sum: goal-orientation, knowledge, personal skills, experience, autonomy, individual expectations, certainty, self-esteem, persistence and success, almost identical to the characteristics Snyder (2002) attributed to agency and pathways. Interpersonal and General Trust

Trust is defined “as the willingness to make oneself vulnerable to another based on a judgement of similarity of intentions and values” (Earle & Siegrist, 2006, p. 386). Unlike confidence, which is based on evidence, performance and norms, trust is related to social interactions and therefore primarily intuitive and emotional (Siegrist, 2010). This social, intuitive and emotional trust is particularly relevant in absence of knowledge and when facing uncertainty (Siegrist et al., 2005). Social trust develops when feeling oneself part of a community (such as the family and friends) with shared values related to benevolence, integrity, fairness, and caring (Earle, 2001). Whereas confidence is backed in the observation of past performance, trust appears in the emotional and moral assessment of future intentions. We trust people whom we consider to have good intentions, support our values and would help us in case of necessity. In this sense, social trust is the first condition for solidarity, mutual cooperation and support.

According to Luhmann (1988), trust emerges only in the presence of risk and is associated with uncertainty and vulnerability (Adams, 2005; Mayer et al., 1995). Trust is the recognition of our mutual dependency. We all depend on the positive intentions of other people in one way or another. General trust is hence the sort of trust we maintain in connection to the larger society, based on the perception of common social values and purposes (Rotter, 1980). In a broader sense, trust is based on faith beyond reason and available evidence (Shaw, 1997). A generalized interpersonal trust rests on the belief that most people are good and can be trusted (Siegrist et al., 2005). A community or society which is only kept together on the basis of rules and constraints will be much more fragile and less resilient than a society where people trust each other because affective bonds and common values tie them together. In a community where people share common interests and values, they will be ready and willing to work together in order to pursue their visions and aspirations (Earle, 2009). Consequently, whereas confidence is a future expectation anchored in the past, trust is future oriented in that it entails taking risks and being open to uncertainty (Earle, 2001). That is why trust usually is concerned with affect laden promotion-oriented ideals while confidence is connected to prevention-oriented goals (Earle, 2010). The Practical Dominance of Trust Over Confidence

Trust based on information about values and intentions seems to be more robust and dominant than confidence founded on rules, control, and performance information (De Bruin & Van Lange, 1999, 2000). At least with regard to trust and cooperation, values are more important than performance (Wojciszke et al., 1998). As long as one appreciates the values and intentions of another person, the failure of this person to perform and attain certain results will not affect the trust deposited in her/him. In other words, performance is interpreted in the light of morality and intentions (Earle et al., 2001). It is usually more relevant to know that the intentions of another person towards oneself or a common cause are good, than to know if the person is capable to perform (Earle, 2010). Whereas confidence is focused on concrete facts and rules constraining behavior, the nature of trust is to open up oneself to recognize the freedom of the other person. Consequently, hope and trust tend to expand the range of alternatives, while in the case of confidence the focus is on a few predefined possibilities (Luhmann, 1988). Conversely, of course, doubts about the good intentions of another person automatically affect trust and cooperation (Earle & Siegrist, 2006).

Table 6.1 summarizes the antecedents and fundamental elements of trust and (self-) confidence as discussed in the literature.

Table 6.1 Distinguishing trust and confidence

6.2.3 Hope and Optimism Confident Optimism and Trustful Hope

The core features and characteristics of trust and confidence can be related to the main differences between hope and optimism (see also Milona, 2020b). Scheier and Carver (1987) conceptualized dispositional optimism as a positive future expectation assuming that “everything will go well” despite existing barriers and difficulties (Scheier et al., 2001). Originally, the concept of dispositional optimism emerged from the broader cognitive theory of self-regulation, which assumes that a person’s behavior is oriented towards the achievement of certain goals (Carver & Scheier, 1981). Based on positive past experiences, individuals with an optimistic attitude have particularly positive expectations about the achievement of personal goals and, even when obstacles arise, they persist in their plans. Positive expectations are characterized as assessments of confidence about the feasibility of achieving a valuable goal. How close the notion of confidence is to the concept of optimism was shown in the exemplary work of de Jonge and his colleagues (de Jonge et al., 2007, 2008), who conceptualized consumer confidence in the safety of food as basically consisting of the dimensions optimism and pessimism.

Gray (1959, p. 225) considered the virtue of hope to be “that quality of character which is directed toward the future in trust rather than in confidence”. Bruininks and Malle (2005) have investigated the differences between hope and optimism from the point of view of the layperson. Unlike optimism, people hope for things that are particularly relevant to them, but which are perceived to be less likely and less under their control (see also Averill et al., 1990). Hope is perceived as a fundamental emotion that enables people not to give up or despair when they feel unable to reach something they desire (Bruininks & Malle, 2005). This means that hope is particularly relevant when people face setbacks and difficulties. Optimism and dispositional hope, on the other hand, have been characterized as cognitions with a higher degree of personal control (Scheier & Carver, 1987; Snyder, 2000). People feel optimistic when things go smoothly. Furthermore, whereas hope is more connected to relational and altruistic goals (many times we hope for other people instead of for ourselves), optimism (and dispositional hope) seems to be especially related to personal achievement related targets.

To summarize: While dispositional optimism and dispositional hope have been conceptualized as cognitive states and traits, perceived hope, in a broader sense, is mainly an emotion with cognitive elements (Staats & Stassen, 1985). Whereas cognitive theories of dispositional optimism and hope are grounded in evidence, as well as in rational estimates about the likelihood of a desired outcome and confidence in personal efficacy, broader perceived hope is rooted in interpersonal trust and influenced by social attachment and support (Scioli et al., 1997). Basically, hope is particularly relevant and salient when people are confronted with uncertainty, adversity, and existential threats in which they cannot be optimistic anymore (Pruyser, 1986).

This is the reason why “hope dies last”. As long as we are confident about the future, we can remain optimistic (Bury et al., 2016; Milona, 2020b). In these cases, trust and hope play a secondary role. Once we cannot rely on past experiences anymore and have lost control over future events, we have to face uncertainty, recognize our vulnerability and place our trust and hope in others. This suggests that hope and trust (and therefore values and positive emotions) would be more resilient and of a more fundamental value than confidence and optimism (based on facts and figures). In order to be able to retrieve our optimism in threatening times we must preserve hope and trust through the affection and assistance of others. Exploring Trustful Hope

In this section we further explore the concept of trustful hope, integrating philosophical and psychological writings and highlighting the main features of personal and interpersonal hope based on trust. Meirav (2009) proposed that hope needs something more than a wish or desire and the belief in its possibility. To be able to hope, people must trust in the benevolence and support of some external factor (such as other people, luck, fate, God), which works in favor of the hoped-for good. As we have seen in a previous section, Erikson (1950) anchors the phenomenon of hope and trust in the quality of care in early childhood, which in later age can be extended to loving friends and family as well as to a caring community and a higher power (Marcel, 1962; Vaillant, 1993). The experience of hope and trust in the communion with other people is based on shared beliefs, values and concerns for something larger than oneself. This means that hope is grounded not only in the self but in a community of people (Martin, 2019).

McGeer (2008) elaborated on the concepts of substantial trust and substantial hope and explained their strong interdependence. Substantial trust involves a positive affective judgement about the goodwill of others that goes beyond the available evidence. We can trust people who in the past have not always demonstrated to be reliable. In such cases we place our hope and trust in the person not because the person has proved to be trustworthy, but just because we like, esteem or love her. By doing so, we are neither confident nor optimistic but believe in the good intentions of the other person and his/her potential to improve and grow. Therefore, substantial hope starts by accepting our limitations and those of others, but without surrendering to them. With this kind of hope we believe and trust ourselves and the others will continue to focus our attention on the desired good and, when possible, engage ourselves for its attainment. This indicates again that a hopeful trust goes beyond mere confidence. Moreover, it empowers people to develop their agency and will-power as well as their capabilities and possibilities transcending current limitations, caring and supporting each other in a process of mutual growth.

This is what McGeer (2004) referred to as “the art of good hope”. She distinguished between a wishful, a willful, and a responsive kind of hope. Whereas a wishful hope involves an overreliance on external factors (too much confidence) and willful hope fearfully neglects one’s own limitations (too much self-confidence), the good responsive and scaffolding hope emphasizes mutual dependency, trust and care. “Well-balanced hopers understand the need for relying on and developing their own powers of agency in formulating and pursuing their hopes, but such hopers also understand how others can significantly affect their powers, enhancing or inhibiting them depending on the quality of their various interactions. Hence, hoping well has an interpersonal dimension as well: it depends on finding—or making—a community in which individual hopers can experience the benefits of peer scaffolding” (McGeer, 2004, p. 123). McGeer (2004) defined peer scaffolding as “a particular mode of engagement in which individuals are supported in their capacity to hope, not primarily by way of material aid but rather by way of psychological aid” (p. 118).

6.2.4 Integrating Both Worlds: Hope Sources and Activities

To conclude the theoretical part of this chapter, we integrate the emotional and the cognitive dimensions of hope, as well as trust and (self-)confidence, focusing on the concrete sources and activities people relate to and perform in order to sustain their hopes and see their hopes fulfilled. People differ not only with regard to what they hope for but also in the way they hope. Walker (2006) recognized a motivational force incorporating different forms of attention, expression and behavior in hope. Martin’s (2013) “Incorporation Theory of Hope” argued that the key to hope is to combine the value of what we hope for with the belief in the possibility of its fulfillment as a license to engage in different hope activities. A meaningful hope emerges when the value of what we hope for is expressed by engaging in meaningful and intrinsically valuable actions in order to make it happen (Bovens, 1999; McGeer, 2004; Milona, 2020a). This means that hope is fundamentally associated with action. Alternately, people cease to engage in hopeful activities either because they no longer believe in the possibility of their hopes and therefore give up or because their hopes are not considered desirable anymore (Blöser & Stahl, 2017).

Hope activities can be as varied as situations encountered and have been classified as cognitive, achievement, social and spiritual oriented activities (Averill et al., 1990; Scioli & Biller, 2009). The first two activities emphasize self-reliance on one’s own possibilities, while the latter two activities emphasize trust in others and faith (Averill & Sundararajan, 2005). Cognitive activities are rooted in the intellectual human capacity of mental imaging, fantasizing, gathering information and planning (Bovens, 1999; Martin, 2011). Achievement and coping oriented activities such as working harder are related to active problem solving, personal effort, ambition and will (Snyder, 2002). Social oriented activities, as we have seen, are based on the availability of a valued person and can be differentiated as emotional and instrumental support (Shakespeare-Finch & Obst, 2011). To trust is an activity reflecting openness, disclosure, intimacy and the appreciation of the helpfulness of other people (Scioli & Biller, 2003). Even having faith and trust in a benevolent higher power by praying, meditating or going to church is an active engagement to remain hopeful in seemingly hopeless situations such as in case of an illness (Scioli et al., 2016). Furthermore, what people hope-for and how people hope seem to be influenced by the culture in which they live. Whereas in individualistic cultures people seem to be more self-confident and believe primarily in themselves, in more collectivistic cultures people tend to connect to other people and value external sources of hope (Averill & Sundararajan, 2005).

Beyond concrete actions to foster the realization of specific hopes, people can draw on several resources in order to remain hopeful and to nurture their hopefulness, even when there is little they can practically do to fulfill their desires. Shade (2001) characterized hope by its implicit resourcefulness in terms of finding and developing resources to support, direct and expand the ability to nurture one’s general hopefulness and to foster the realization of one’s particular hopes. In order to be hopeful, people must basically trust in the availability of resources to make their hopes happen, especially when confronting difficulties and obstacles (Scioli & Biller, 2003). Snyder et al. (1991) argued that hope is the belief that personal goals can be attained by one’s own resources. However, especially in times of adversity, people can make use of numerous sources of hope in order to promote their hope. When personal resources are depleted, people can remain hopeful when they trust that external resources are available and can contribute to realizing their hopes (Tong et al., 2010).

Scioli and Biller (2003) distinguished several potential sources of trust and hope: Besides the self, they recognized external factors such as culture and tradition, diversity and equality, the economic system, nature, other people, science and a Higher Power. Whereas personal hope sources are grounded in the self, in one’s own talents, experiences and abilities, which include imagination and creativity, external resources come into play in situations in which people perceive little control over their hoped-for targets. External resources can be the perceived emotional and instrumental support awaited from family members, friends and others (such as teachers, therapists, lawyers. etc.) but also the faith in a benevolent transcendent Higher Power or energy such as God, nature or simply luck (Shade, 2001).

Both internal and external sources of hope require an attitude of readiness and engagement on the part of the hoping person. According to Shade (2001), one important resource of hope is the ability to request and accept the support of others. This presupposes personal strengths such as the humility and courage to recognize one’s own limitations and appreciate the abilities of others, the patience to wait for the right moment and the openness to accept new ideas. In a community of hope, the connection with others and the faith in a higher power are not only sources of hope but also valuable resources to maintain and expand one’s own agency and abilities (McGeer, 2004, 2008). Social and spiritual resources can contribute to the empowerment, expansion and development of one’s agency, which is especially of value in times of adversity (Lear, 2006). As soon as trust in another person or a higher power comes into play, hoping may well become a mutual activity (Stitzlein, 2019). Hopeful people accept external support when they need it and give support to others when they are able to do so.

6.3 Our Studies

6.3.1 Main Aim

Conceptualizing hope as a wish or desire for a valuable good which is considered to be possible (however not necessarily probable), together with trust in the availability of individual, social or spiritual resources to overcome difficulties and obstacles, the aim of our empirical studies reported in this chapter was to explore the sources and activities of hope relevant for maintaining hope and making one’s hopes happen across several countries. Specifically, we focused on trust and social support. In the following sections we present two studies based on data collected through the Hope Barometer in 2018 and 2019. Study 1 examined the role of several sources of hope, with a specific focus on social support and further external hope resources such as religiosity and luck. We also explored their relationship with perceived and dispositional hope. Study 2 extended the findings of study 1 by centering on concrete activities people perform in order to get their hopes fulfilled and by evaluating their possible impact on hope.

6.3.2 Study 1: Hope Sources, Social Support, Religiosity, and Luck Objectives

Study 1 examined several sources of hope across 12 countries as well as the relationship of these sources of hope with levels of perceived and dispositional (individualistic-cognitive) hope. Furthermore, we investigated the different aspects of social support (giving and receiving emotional and instrumental support) as indicators of social trust, together with the trust in a higher power and in an unspecific benevolent force experienced as “luck” in relation to hope.

We predicted that levels of perceived hope will be more strongly positively associated with social and spiritual sources than dispositional hope. We also expected that in more collectivist countries (e.g., Portugal, Nigeria, Colombia, India and South Africa), hope will be more related to social and spiritual sources than in more individualistic countries (Australia, Czechia, Italy, Israel, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland). Assuming the relevance of emotions and the role of peer scaffolding to maintain hope as suggested by McGeer (2004), we assumed that receiving and giving emotional support will be more important than receiving and giving instrumental support. Furthermore, we explored the impact of several external factors (social support, religiousness and luck) in different countries to predict hope. Procedure and Participant Samples

Data was collected as part of the Hope Barometer in November 2019 through announcements in online newspapers, social media and e-mails. No incentives were offered. For this study we selected 12 countries each displaying a robust database of at least 200 participants. People younger than 18 were excluded from the analysis. A total of 10,287 participants completed the questionnaire, of 94 were removed due to a high number of missing values and obvious erroneous answers (e.g., always 0 or 1).

Participants were recruited in Australia (N = 474), Colombia (N = 311), the Czech Republic (N = 469), India (N = 1092), Israel (N = 884), Italy (N = 272), Nigeria (N = 665), Poland (N = 481), Portugal (N = 507), South Africa (N = 574), Spain (N = 529) and Switzerland (N = 3935). The questionnaire was delivered in English (Australia, Northern and Southern India, Nigeria and South Africa), Spanish (Colombia and Spain), Czech (Czech Republic), Hebrew (Israel), Italian (Italy and Switzerland), Polish (Poland), Portuguese (Portugal), Malayalam (Southern India) as well as French and German (Switzerland).

The demographic structure of the samples is exhibited in Appendix 6.1. Gender distribution is quite balanced in Australia, Colombia, India, South Africa and Switzerland. In the Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, more women than men (about 70/30) and in Nigeria more men than women took part to the survey. The mean age varied, with the youngest sample being from Colombia (M = 26.29, SD = 8.63) and the oldest in Australia (M = 47.53, SD = 13.05) and Switzerland (M = 46.82, SD = 15.67). Regarding marital status and education, the samples were diverse. However, the Australian and Israeli samples included a large number of married people, the Colombian sample contained many people still living with their parents, and the Nigerian sample included a large number of single individuals. Many participants had a full- or part-time job, especially in Australia, Israel and Poland. In Colombia, Czechia, India and Spain, the samples included a larger number of people still in education or training. Measures Hope Sources

Krafft and Walker (2018) developed a list of 18 items describing different sources of hope fitting into 7 categories: (1) Religious (“I have experienced God’s support”), (2) social-relational (“the support of family and friends”), (3) coping (“I have recovered well from illness”), (4) hedonic (“I have experienced great concerts and parties”), (5) personal mastery (“I have solved difficult problems”), (6) material-financial (“I have earned a lot of money”), and (7) altruistic (“Doing good for a meaningful cause”). The items could be rated on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 3 (very much). Perceived Hope Scale

The general level of personal hope was assessed with the Perceived Hope Scale (PHS) (Krafft et al., 2017, 2021; Marujo et al., 2021; Slezackova et al., 2020). The PHS consists of six items to measure the level of hope as perceived by people in a direct manner and free from any preconceptions regarding the nature and quality of hope. The PHS is especially suitable to assess the level of general hope in different cultures since it avoids any bias regarding potential sources, roots, dimensions and elements of hope. The items of the PHS evaluate the degree of hope in general (“I feel hopeful”), in one’s life (“I am hopeful with regard to my life”) and in difficult situations. Further items assess the belief in the possibility of fulfillment of one’s hopes and the intensity of general hope vis-à-vis the feeling of anxiety (“In my life hope outweighs anxiety”). The six positively worded items were rated on a 6-point Likert scale from 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). In the current study the six items achieved a high internal consistency in all samples with Cronbach alpha values between α = 0.79 and α = 0.90. Dispositional Hope Scale

To assess the individualistic-cognitive concept of hope we applied Snyder’s Adult Dispositional Hope Scale (Snyder et al., 1991). The scale consists of four items to assess the motivational dimension of agency (will-power, e.g. “I energetically pursue my goals”) and four items to assess the cognitive dimension of pathways (way-power, e.g. “I can think of many ways to get the things in life that are most important to me”). The eight items were scored on a 6-point scale ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) and attained high internal consistency with values between α = 0.84 and α = 0.91. Receiving and Giving Social Support

In order to measure the reciprocal nature of social support and trust we administered the 2-Way Social Support Scale (Shakespeare-Finch & Obst, 2011). The scale consists of 21 items designed to assess receiving emotional support (7 items, e.g. “There is at least one person that I feel I can trust”), receiving instrumental support (4 items, e.g. “There is someone who can help me fulfil my responsibilities when I am unable”), giving emotional support (5 items, e.g. “People confide in me when they have problems”), and giving instrumental support (5 items, e.g. “I am a person others turn to for help with tasks”). Participants were asked to indicate the degree to which each statement was true for them on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 5 (always). Reliability coefficients ranged between α = 0.91 and α = 0.96 for receiving emotional support, between α = 0.81 and α = 0.90 for receiving instrumental support, between α = 0.84 and α = 0.91 for giving emotional support and between α = 0.71 and α = 0.83 for giving instrumental support. Data Analysis

All statistical analyses were performed with IBM SPSS and AMOS version 27.0. We first determined mean values of the sources of hope and compared them between countries. Thereafter, we calculated partial bivariate Pearson correlations controlling for demographic variables between the sources of hope and both constructs to assess perceived and dispositional hope.

Further analyses established levels of receiving and giving emotional and instrumental support as well as of religiosity and luck in all countries. By means of hierarchical regression analyses we then estimated the predictive power of different constructs representing several external factors of hope. After starting with demographic variables in step 1, we entered the two variables which measured receiving emotional and instrumental support in step 2, after which we included the two factors for giving emotional and instrumental support in step 3. This was followed by a composite variable to determine the level of religiousness in step 4, and finally the item “I have been always lucky” in step 5. To assess religiousness we combined two items describing religious sources of hope (“My prayers have been answered” and “I have experienced God’s support”) with an item describing a religious wish (“More religious and spiritual experiences”). The Cronbach Alpha indices for religiousness yielded high levels of reliability, between α = 0.82 and α = 0.90.

Group invariance across the 12 samples for the Perceived Hope Scale was already tested in Chap. 4, and the results indicated that we can assume that the PHS demonstrated satisfactory invariance across the investigated countries and that the individual scores can be compared. This would indicate that perceived hope has been conceptualized in a similar form across countries and that correlation analyses with other constructs are possible. Results Hope Sources: Descriptive Statistics

Table 6.2 displays the mean values and standard deviations of the 18 hope sources. We commence with an overview of the most general results which emerged as common patterns in most countries. The principal hope sources highly valued by most people were the social support of family and friends and the experience of doing good for a meaningful cause. Further important social oriented resources were the support of other people in difficult times as well as the gratitude of people one has helped. Cognitive and achievement-oriented experiences (success in education, in the job and solving difficult problems) were as important as the social sources. Less relevant in almost all countries were financial and technological resources, hedonic experiences (such as parties) and political engagement. The item “I have been always lucky” usually ranked at the center of the list. Furthermore, religious resources were of little importance for most people, but there were pronounced differences between countries.

Table 6.2 Hope sources—mean values, standard deviations and analysis of variance

Considering specific items, significant differences between countries emerged. Some Latin countries such as Spain, Colombia and Portugal stand out regarding both, social as well as achievement-oriented sources of hope. Experiencing support of family and friends, the helpfulness of other people in difficult times as well as the gratitude of people they have helped were significantly stronger for participants in these countries than those in Switzerland and Italy. Likewise, the achievement-oriented sources of hope such as successful education or studies, professional accomplishments and having been able to solve difficult problems in the past were scored higher in Colombia and Portugal than for example in Switzerland.

Memories of a happy childhood were experienced as a hope source most often in India, Spain, Colombia and South Africa, and the least in Poland and Czechia. Having earned a lot of money was significantly more relevant, although at a lower level, in Poland, Australia, India, Colombia, Nigeria and South Africa than in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, Portugal and Czechia. On the other hand, participants in Switzerland, Czechia and India especially benefited from pleasant experiences in nature, significantly more so than people in Nigeria, Italy, Spain, Israel and Poland. In Nigeria and India, the experience of having recovered well from an illness was an important hope source in contrast to people in Italy and Israel.

The most remarkable difference emerged with regard to the religious and spiritual sources of hope. People in Nigeria, India and South Africa have felt God’s support and that their prayers have been answered more intensely than people in all other countries, especially those in Switzerland, Czechia and Spain, who displayed the lowest scores. Furthermore, people in Nigeria and India remarked they have been always lucky, a feeling that was significantly lower in Australia, Spain and Poland. Hope Sources as Correlates of Perceived and Dispositional Hope

The next step was dedicated to analyzing levels of hope across all samples (see Table 6.3). Perceived and dispositional hope scores were moderately high (clearly above the center of the scale) in all countries. Furthermore, mean values of dispositional hope (expressing self-confidence) were slightly but statistically significantly higher than perceived hope (expressing trust) in almost all countries with exception of Nigeria and Czechia, where they were similar. Participants in Nigeria, Australia, India, South Africa and Israel exhibited the highest levels of perceived hope, and people in Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Czechia and Italy the lowest. Regarding dispositional hope, scores were the highest in Nigeria, Colombia, Australia, Italy and South Africa and the lowest in Czechia, Switzerland, Spain and Poland.

Table 6.3 Perceived and dispositional hope—mean values and standard deviations

In the next step partial bivariate correlations were calculated between the 18 hope sources, on the one hand, and the general levels of perceived and dispositional hope, on the other (see Table 6.4). The analyses of the results were focused on three main questions: 1. Which sources of hope are the most strongly related to the general level of hope? 2. Which similarities and differences emerge regarding the coefficients related to both constructs of hope? 3. Which similarities and differences can be detected between countries?

Table 6.4 Sources of hope—partial bivariate Pearson correlations with perceived and dispositional hope

The first noteworthy results were the high correlation coefficients between perceived and dispositional hope (between r = 0.55 and r = 0.70) and that most of the hope sources correlate significantly with both hope constructs (with exception of the two items portraying political activities) but with notable differences in effect sizes within and between samples. Achievement oriented sources such as “I have solved difficult problems” and “my professional successes and achievements” were moderately associated with hope but clearly stronger with dispositional hope than with perceived hope. On the other hand, religious and social related sources as well as the experience of luck in one’s life were also moderately related to hope, but more markedly with perceived hope.

In several countries such as Australia, Colombia, Italy, Nigeria, Poland and South Africa, the religious and spiritual sources of hope especially displayed moderately high correlation coefficients with perceived hope, while the achievement-oriented items also showed moderately high effects with dispositional hope. In Portugal, India and the Czech Republic the correlation effects between the achievement-oriented hope sources (having solved difficult problems in the past and professional successes) and dispositional hope are notably weaker. Whereas in the Italian and the South African samples the correlation coefficients between perceived hope and the religious items were the highest among all countries, the Czech and Spanish samples displayed the lowest. The correlation coefficients between luck and perceived hope were the strongest in Switzerland, Israel and Italy.

In the South African sample, the association of the social sources of hope (family, friends, and other people) as well as “doing good for a meaningful cause” in relation to perceived hope were especially strong. Interestingly, in South Africa, the religious items and “doing good…” were not only the strongest correlators with perceived hope, but did also display moderate correlation effects with dispositional hope. Remarkably, “luck” exhibited a stronger association with dispositional hope than with perceived hope, which could indicate that one’s will- and way-power not only results from the appreciation of one’s own capabilities but also from a benevolent external factor. Even more pronounced was a similar effect in Nigeria and in Italy, where dispositional hope correlated moderately high with achievement-oriented sources, but also with doing good and having luck as well as with the faith related to prayers. This could mean that people in Nigeria, Italy and South Africa are able to connect and integrate personal, religious and other external sources of hope in a very natural manner.

Having earned a lot of money displayed low effects on both hope types, with the highest coefficients emerging in Switzerland and Nigeria. In Switzerland (and with lower effects also in Israel) both hope constructs were similarly related to achievement experiences, to social sources as well as to the external factor of luck, while the effects of the religious resources were less pronounced. Furthermore, the item “doing good…”, which unites accomplishment and social values displayed a moderate effect on perceived and dispositional hope too.

Consequently, it can be concluded that social and religious hope sources anchored in trust experiences with other people and a higher power are moderately associated with perceived hope. Achievement and mastery-oriented hope sources are more likely associated with dispositional hope, emphasizing the closeness of dispositional hope to the concept of self-confidence. Whereas self-centered hope sources were more pronounced in countries such as Switzerland, Spain, Israel and Czechia, social and religious hope sources were more salient in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Italy. Furthermore, it can be assumed that people in certain countries like South Africa, Italy and Nigeria could integrate social, religious and achievement-oriented hope sources more smoothly. In other countries such as Switzerland and Israel, the religious sources seem to be replaced by the experience of luck and nature, underscoring the importance of some external factor in countries with low levels of religiosity. Social Support, Religiosity, and Luck: Descriptive Statistics

We started our next analyses calculating mean values and standard deviations for the four social support dimensions as well as for religiosity and luck (see Table 6.5). Mean scores of receiving emotional and instrumental support were relatively high (above the scale center of 2.5) but with significant differences between countries. Interestingly, in almost all countries (with exception of India) the degrees of receiving emotional support were significantly higher than receiving instrumental support. Likewise, mean values of giving emotional and instrumental support to others were also above the center of the scale in all countries, but giving emotional support was significantly more pronounced than giving instrumental support.

Table 6.5 Social support, religiosity and luck—mean values, standard deviations and analysis of variance

Receiving emotional support was especially evident in Spain, Colombia, Portugal and Israel and the least in Nigeria, South Africa, India and Switzerland. Similarly, mean scores of receiving instrumental support were the highest in Spain, Colombia, Poland and Israel and the lowest in Nigeria, Switzerland, South Africa, Czechia and India. Giving emotional support was more pronounced in Portugal, Poland, Spain and Colombia and less evident in India, Switzerland, Nigeria and South Africa. Furthermore, giving instrumental support achieved the highest scores in Portugal, Nigeria, Australia, South Africa, and Poland and the lowest in Italy, Switzerland, Czechia, Israel, and Colombia.

We also determined mean values for two further external hope sources, religiosity and luck, which displayed significant differences between countries. People in Nigeria, South Africa, and India presented mean values of religiosity and luck clearly above the center of the scale. In Colombia Portugal, Israel and Poland religiosity scores were moderate and in Spain, Switzerland and Czechia especially low. The experience of luck was particularly strong in Nigeria and India, moderate in Italy, Colombia, Israel, Switzerland, Portugal and South Africa, and rather low in Poland, Spain, Australia and Czechia. The relationship between religiosity and luck was also of interest. Whereas in Nigeria, South Africa and India religiosity scores were higher than luck, in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Czechia and Israel the experience of luck had primacy over religiosity. In Colombia, Portugal, Poland and Australia both constructs scored at a similar level. Regression Analyses Predicting Perceived Hope

Before presenting the results of the regression analyses, a first look at the partial bivariate correlations for the entire data including all countries presented in Table 6.6 reveal moderate positive associations of perceived hope with receiving emotional and instrumental support, religiosity and luck, and low effects with giving emotional and instrumental support (after controlling for samples and demographic variables). Furthermore, the correlation coefficients between all four dimensions of social support and religiosity and luck were rather low.

Table 6.6 Perceived hope, social support, religiosity and luck—partial bivariate Pearson correlations

Turning to the results of the regression analyses predicting perceived hope reported in Table 6.7, some common and some individual results came forward. In general terms, receiving social support had a greater impact on hope (between 6.7% and 20.3% of the explained variance) than giving social support (between 0 and 8.5% of hope’s variance). Moreover, the predictive effect of receiving emotional support was more salient than the effect of receiving instrumental support in almost all countries except Poland. Receiving instrumental support displayed a positive impact on hope only in Israel, Poland, Spain and Switzerland, but not in the other country samples. With regards to giving support to others, the patterns were less uniform. Whereas giving emotional support had a positive association with hope in the Israeli, Nigerian, Spanish and Swiss samples, giving instrumental support displayed a positive predictive effect in India, Nigeria, Poland, and Portugal.

Table 6.7 Hierarchical regression analyses predicting perceived hope

Religiosity revealed a positive impact on hope in all countries (explained variance from 2.5% in Spain to 15.8% in Italy), with the highest coefficients arising in South Africa, Poland, Italy and Nigeria. The unspecific external factor of luck had an additional predictive effect on hope, between 1.6% in Nigeria and 5.4% in Spain. Whereas in Switzerland, Spain and Israel the effect of luck on hope is visibly higher than the effect of religiosity, in South Africa, Poland and Italy the contribution of religiosity is clearly stronger than the effect of luck. In Australia and Colombia, the impact of religiosity and luck on hope are almost at the same level (in terms of adjusted beta). Summary of Findings

The general objective of this study was to assess a variety of hope sources and the expression of trust, social support and other external factors on hope across several countries. We assumed that social and spiritual sources would be associated with perceived hope more strongly than with dispositional hope and that they would be more pronounced in collectivistic than in individualistic countries. The results of Study 1 reveal four major findings: (1) the importance and role of different hope sources; (2) the distinct characteristics of perceived and dispositional hope; (3) the relevance of several dimensions of social support and other external factors such as religiosity and luck for hope; as well as (4) the distinctive nature of diverse hope sources across people in different countries.

In general terms and across all samples, social sources of hope such as the support of family and friends, doing good for a meaningful cause, and the gratitude of people one has helped, are at least as important as self-centered, performance and mastery-oriented sources such as a successful education or job and having solved difficult problems. Of lesser significance in most countries were financial and technical resources, political events as well as (however not in all countries) religious experiences. The factor “luck” was of moderate importance in most of the samples.

Social, religious, and achievement-oriented sources displayed moderate correlation coefficients with perceived and dispositional hope but with major differences between samples. Overall, as expected, whereas achievement and mastery-oriented hope sources were more strongly related to dispositional hope, social and religious oriented hope sources displayed a greater association with perceived hope. Despite the huge economic and social differences between the 12 countries under study, the levels of perceived and dispositional hope were of a moderately high magnitude in all samples. Moreover, participants in Nigeria, India, South Africa, Australia, and Israel displayed significantly higher levels of perceived and dispositional hope than those in Switzerland, Spain, Czechia, and Poland (with Italy in between).

Hope sources related to social support were of special importance in some Latin countries such as Spain, Colombia, and Portugal and of lesser importance in Switzerland and Italy. However, social sources of hope were moderately associated with perceived hope in all countries and especially in South Africa. In line with the emotional nature of hope, to receive and give emotional support is, as assumed, for most people much more significant in terms of hope than receiving and giving instrumental support, especially for people in Latin countries (Spain, Portugal and Colombia). Surprisingly, participants in Nigeria, South Africa and India, together with those in Switzerland expressed lower levels of receiving and giving emotional support. Alternately, the samples from Nigeria, South Africa and India reported to give more instrumental support as well as having higher levels of religiosity and luck. For people in non-European countries the hope supporting factor of earning money was significantly more important than for people in European countries.

Religious and spiritual hope sources paired with the experience of luck were mainly relevant for people in Nigeria, India and South Africa and to a much lower extent in Switzerland, Czechia and Spain. On the other hand, people in Switzerland and Czechia nurtured their hope through inspiring experiences in nature, which could also be considered as a significant external factor fostering hope. In South Africa, Nigeria and Italy, the experiences of doing good, luck and faith in God were highly associated with both perceived and dispositional hope. Religious sources were the least related to perceived hope in the Czech, Spanish and Swiss samples. Luck, instead, was more related to hope in Switzerland, Israel and Italy. The relevance of religiosity and the perception of being lucky was furthermore substantiated by the regression analyses.

Concluding, the results of this study revealed the general importance of trust, social support, religiosity and the perception of luck, as well as other external factors of hope like stimulating experiences in nature, as significant sources of hope. However, they also disclosed significant differences and notable results across countries. Specifically, people with higher levels of hope located in Nigeria, South Africa and India were those with the highest levels of religiosity and luck along with the strongest predictive effects of these factors on perceived hope. To the contrary, people in Switzerland, Czechia and Spain expressed both the lowest levels of hope and the lowest levels of religiosity. Furthermore, people in some Latin countries such as Spain, Portugal and Colombia drew hope the most from social sources, especially from receiving and giving emotional support, which for people in Switzerland, Nigeria, South Africa and India seemed to be less relevant.

Beyond these practical findings, our results could also reveal an important insight regarding the association between religiosity and luck as external factors of hope. For example, for people in Italy, a country with deep Catholic roots and where the Church enjoys a high reputation, trusting God and considering oneself lucky both exhibited a strong correlation with hope (see Table 6.4). In the regression analysis, however, religiosity accounted for the largest proportion of explained variance, absorbing most of the effect of luck. This could imply, that the perception of luck has its roots in religious faith. However, in Spain, where resentment against the Catholic Church is still strong, the predominant external factor was not religiosity but the experience of luck, with beta scores and variance explained of hope exceeding those in Italy, indicating that the perception of luck is either related to an unspecific benevolent external force, which people probably cannot describe or even be aware of, or to one’s own efforts. In this sense, we could go one step further and assume that whereas the nature of religiosity is clearly relational (one’s communion with God), the nature of “luck” might be either rooted in an external (religious, spiritual or metaphysical) force, or otherwise be the expression of a self-centered attitude (“I’m the lucky one” or even more extreme “I’m the creator of my own luck”). However, in any case, we still assume that both factors, religiosity and luck, by and large, should be considered external sources of hope.

6.3.3 Study 2: Hope Activities Objectives

Departing from the notion of hope as a disposition to act (Martin, 2013), the aim of study 2 was to investigate several cognitive, social, spiritual and other activities people perform in order to see their hopes fulfilled. We assessed common patterns and differences between countries regarding the intensity of such activities and evaluated to what extent these hope activities were associated with the general level of perceived hope. We expected that participants in more individualistic countries such as Switzerland, Italy and Australia, would prefer cognitive activities and that these activities would show a stronger impact on hope than social and spiritual activities, while in more collectivistic countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Colombia and India it would be the other way around. Procedure and Participant Samples

Data was collected with the Hope Barometer survey in November 2018, announcing it in online newspapers, social media and e-mails. No incentives were offered. For this study we selected eight samples from German (N = 3049) and French (N = 1109) speaking Switzerland, France (N = 135), Spain (N = 528), Portugal (N = 808), Czechia (N = 338), Poland (N = 169) and South Africa (N = 109). People younger than 18 were excluded from the analysis. A total of 6548 people completed the questionnaire, from which 303 were removed due to a high number of missing values, obvious erroneous answers (e.g., always 0 or 1) and multivariate outliers.

The demographic structure of the samples is exhibited in Appendix 6.2. Gender distribution was quite balanced in the two Swiss samples (around 40% male and 60% female). In the other samples, we have considerably more female than male participants. Regarding age, Swiss and South African participants were on average the oldest and Czech were the youngest. The distribution of the marital status was quite comparable across countries, however with significantly more married people being part of the South African and Polish samples, and more single people belonging to the Portuguese group. As in the previous studies, the education level was difficult to compare due to different education systems. Most of the (older) South African participants held a university degree, which is clearly not representative for the general population in this country. Overall, most of the participants had a full-time or a part-time job as employees or in management positions. Measures Hope Activities

Participants could assess a list of 13 activities people perform in order to fulfil their hopes (Krafft & Walker, 2018). The 13 items belong to four dimensions: (1) The cognitive-rational dimension (e.g., “I think a lot and analyze circumstances”), (2) the social-relational dimension (e.g., “I talk about my hopes with my spouse/partner”), (3) the spiritual-religious dimension (e.g., “I pray, meditate”), and (4) the engagement dimension (e.g., “I take responsibility and engage myself”). The items were rated on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 3 (very often). Perceived Hope Scale

As in Study 1, the general level of personal hope was assessed with the six items of the Perceived Hope Scale (PHS) (Krafft et al., 2017, 2021; Marujo et al., 2021; Slezackova et al., 2020). In the current study the six items achieved a high internal consistency in all samples with Cronbach alpha values between α = 0.89 and α = 0.92. Data Analysis

Statistical analyses were performed with IBM SPSS and AMOS version 27.0. The first step was to calculate the mean values of the hope activities, analyze the rank order within the samples and compare the scores of the single activities across samples. The next step was dedicated to determining partial bivariate correlation coefficients between the 13 hope activities and the general level of perceived hope (controlling for demographic variables).

In order to demonstrate measurement invariance of the Perceived Hope Scale across the eight investigated samples a multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis (MGCFA) was performed. The fit of the general model by means of maximum likelihood estimation was evaluated using the following indices: Comparative fit index (CFI) and Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) (study criterion ≥0.95 as ideal and ≥ 0.90 as the minimum acceptable level), root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) (study criterion ≤0.08) and the standardized root mean residual SRMR (study criterion ≤0.08) (Hu & Bentler, 1999). The test for measurement invariance was performed in four steps, from configurational invariance (equal form), to metric invariance (equal loadings), to scalar invariance (equal intercepts), and finally to strict invariance (equal residuals). The recommended criteria to demonstrate invariance are changes in CFI and TLI between comparison and nested models of ≥ −0.010, a change in RMSEA of ≤0.015 and a variation in SRMR of ≤0.030 (for loading invariance) and ≤ 0.010 (for intercept invariance) (Chen, 2007). Results Hope Activities: Descriptive Statistics

Table 6.8 displays the mean values, standard deviations and variance analyses of the 13 hope activities. The most highly endorsed hope activities in all countries were of a cognitive and self-centered nature: “I think a lot and analyze circumstances” as well as taking personal responsibility and committing oneself. These were followed by social activities related to friends and families or talking about one’s hopes with a partner. Religious and spiritual activities of trusting God, praying, meditating and going to church received much lower scores especially in Switzerland, France, Spain and Czechia. In South Africa, trusting God and praying/meditating were situated clearly above the center of the scale, and in Portugal and Poland around the center.

Table 6.8 Hope activities—mean values, standard deviations and analysis of variance

Beyond these general findings, some further noteworthy differences between countries emerged. Participants in Portugal and Spain seemed to engage themselves in entrepreneurial activities, which was rarely the case in Czechia, Switzerland and France. To inform oneself through widely reading newspapers or consulting the internet was less chosen in Switzerland. Polish participants endorsed cognitive activities and were more likely to endorse religious activities than participants in most other countries. In South Africa and Portugal, participants placed special emphasis on social activities involving a partner, family members and friends. In South Africa, to trust God had nearly the same value as connecting with family and friends. Group Invariance of the Perceived Hope Scale

In order to compare mean values of the PHS and relate them to other variables, we tested invariance using all eight investigated samples. Table 6.9 exhibits the results of the MGCFA including the fit indices for the general sample followed by the four models to test different types of invariance. The overall fit indices for the total sample revealed that the one-factor model achieved good model fit (CFI and TLI > 0.95, RMSEA and SRMR < 0.08) (Hu & Bentler, 1999). Furthermore, the model fit of the individual samples revealed adequate results too. The equal form used as baseline model provided a good fit to the data, suggesting reasonable support for configurational invariance across the groups. Likewise, all indices comparing the further models with the baseline model were under the threshold values recommended by the literature (Chen, 2007, CFI and TLI > −0.01, RMSEA and SRMR < 0.015). This means that the PHS revealed a strong measurement invariance and that it is possible to compare the PHS scores between the national samples. The general hope construct measured with the PHS seemed to be conceptualized in a similar way across cultures and was suitable to be examined in relationship to other constructs.

Table 6.9 Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis and group invariance for the perceived hope scale Hope Activities as Correlates of Perceived Hope

Regarding the level of perceived hope, people in South Africa (M = 3.62, SD = 0.99), Poland (M = 3.61, SD = 0.99), Portugal (M = 3.59, SD = 0.95), and Czechia (M = 3.59, SD = 0.95) showed significantly higher levels in comparison to people in France (M = 3.37, SD = 1.03), Spain (M = 3.42, SD = 0.93) and German speaking Switzerland (M = 3.40, SD = 1.02) (p < 0.05), but the differences were small. Significant and markedly lower levels of hope were expressed by people in the French Swiss sample (M = 2.93, SD = 1.15) (p < 0.01). We correlated the hope activities with the general level of perceived hope with noteworthy results (see Table 6.10). The highly appreciated cognitive activities of thinking a lot and informing oneself barely correlated with hope in most of the countries, with the exception of France and French speaking Switzerland. In all countries, the social activities of engaging one’s family and friends or talking with one’s partner displayed higher correlation coefficients than the cognitive activities. Furthermore, religious activities of praying, trusting God and going to church showed stronger correlations with hope than the cognitive activities. Religious activities has the lowest correlation with hope in Spain and Switzerland. In the South African, Polish and Portuguese samples social and religious activities correlated moderately high with perceived hope. Beyond this, in all samples the activities of taking responsibility and engaging oneself as well as having a good job exhibited moderate correlation coefficients with perceived hope.

Table 6.10 Hope activities—partial bivariate Pearson correlations with perceived hope Summary of Findings

The most striking finding in Study 2 was the fact that whilst people in most countries expressed a strong engagement in cognitive behaviors along with social actions and to a much lesser extent in religious practices to fulfill their hopes, the statistical impact on hope was mostly related to social and religious activities rather than to cognitive accomplishments.

In line with the results of study 1, participants from Switzerland, Spain and Czechia were the least likely to perform religious practices, whereas those in South Africa, Portugal and Poland displayed higher levels of religiosity and social activities, which also showed the strongest associations with perceived hope. Moreover, similar findings as in study 1 were found regarding lower levels of religiosity and also of perceived hope in Switzerland and Spain, and higher levels of both dimensions for participants in South Africa and to a lesser extent also in Portugal and Poland. Findings for people in Czechia were slightly different, with participants reporting low levels of religiosity in both studies, but in this study expressed slightly higher levels of perceived hope.

Similar to the findings in study 1, people in South Africa (and now also in Portugal and Poland) demonstrated that taking personal responsibility and engaging oneself, is not in contradiction to the belief in a higher power and to prayers or meditation. Rather, it seems that these activities can be smoothly complemented and integrated in order to foster a higher sense of hopefulness.

6.3.4 General Findings and Discussion

In the theoretical part of this chapter we maintained that trust in others, e.g., family members, friends, the wider community, a spiritual higher power or a benevolent external factor such as luck or nature, is a constitutive element of hope (Scioli et al., 2016). Trust especially comes into play when people hope for a desired good, when they also believe in the possibility but not necessarily in a high probability of its realization, and therefore have to remain hopeful even in dire situations characterized by little personal control (Bruininks & Malle, 2005; Tennen et al., 2002). Based on the TCC risk management model (Earle, 2001; Earle & Siegrist, 2006; Siegrist, 2010) we explained the distinctive characteristics between confidence and trust and argued that whereas the self-centered concepts of dispositional hope and optimism are grounded in (self-) confidence (performance oriented and evidence based), a much broader concept of (perceived) hope would be eminently rooted in trust (based in relationships and value oriented). Moreover, it was argued that trustful hope is characterized by three interrelated aspects, a disposition to act (Martin, 2013), mutual social care and support (McGeer, 2004, 2008), as well as trust in further external resources (Bovens, 1999; Shade, 2001). Finally, it was assumed that people in different cultures might cultivate hope backed in diverse individual, social and religious hope sources and would likewise perform different activities in order to get their hopes fulfilled (Averill et al., 1990; Averill & Sundararajan, 2005).

The overall purpose of the two empirical studies in this chapter was to explore the sources and activities of hope relevant to maintaining hope and making one’s hopes happen, with special focus on trust, social support and further external factors such as religiosity and luck in several countries. Study 1 was focused on the importance of several hope sources for people in 12 countries and analyzed the role of social support and other external hope resources on perceived and dispositional hope. Study 2 broadened the findings of study 1 by centering on concrete activities people use to perform in order to get their hopes fulfilled and by evaluating their possible impact on perceived hope among different countries.

As suggested by several authors (Averill & Sundararajan, 2005; Scioli et al., 2016; Tennen et al., 2002), the general findings of our studies support the importance of external hope sources and activities such as social support, luck, nature as well as religious experiences and practices along with self-centered, performance and mastery-oriented sources and activities but with distinct emphases in different countries. Based on the results of our studies we identified three groups of countries which differed with regard to the importance assigned to several hope sources and activities as well as the level of general hope. Social resources and activities such as supporting each other emotionally and talking with family and friends were especially important for people in some Latin countries (Spain, Portugal, and Colombia). People in African countries (Nigeria and South Africa) and India received and nurtured hope especially from religious sources and practices (trusting God, praying, meditating, etc.). Finally, people in more individualistic countries like Switzerland and Czechia relied the most on self-centered, performance and mastery-oriented sources and activities, but also acknowledged the importance of external factors such as social support, luck and inspiring experiences in nature.

Remarkably, people in countries in which religious sources and practices were especially valued and could also be combined with individual capabilities, expressed the highest levels of perceived and dispositional hope and vice-versa, people in countries with the lowest levels and effects of religious sources and practices displayed the lowest levels of hope. Conceptually, the broader notion of perceived hope was related to several individual, social, religious and further factors (such as luck and nature) in a more balanced way than dispositional hope (more centered on individual mastery and performance) (Krafft et al., 2017). Moreover, people in countries like South Africa, Nigeria and India seem to be able to integrate the reliance in one’s own personal capabilities with the trust in a higher religious or spiritual power. When focusing on social support, our studies exposed that in most countries emotional support had a greater effect on perceived hope than instrumental support. Moreover, cognitive practices such as reading and analyzing, although highly endorsed, demonstrated lower effects on hope than social activities supporting the eminently emotional character of hope as suggested by several authors (Fredrickson, 2013; Scioli & Biller, 2009; Tong et al., 2010).

6.3.5 Limitations

Our studies contain a number of limitations necessary to acknowledge. As in the previous chapters, the design of our research is cross-sectional, impeding us to infer any kind of causality. We assume that the relationship between hope and trust is largely reciprocal: Hopeful people are able to trust others and vise-versa, trusting others will foster one’s hope. A recurring limitation already addressed in other chapters is the very unequal sample sizes, the dissimilar demographic structures and the lack of representativeness across countries. Results of countries with rather a small number of participants should be interpreted with caution and dealt with as possible hints to motivate more exhaustive research in the future. Furthermore, the online survey makes the participation of socio-economic groups with limited or no internet access, especially in developing countries, difficult or even impossible.

6.4 Conclusions

In this chapter we aimed to contribute to the knowledge of hope by highlighting and exploring the nature and role of trust expressed in several individual, social and religious/spiritual sources and activities held and performed by people in different countries. Trustful hope comes into play especially in dire situations when people cease to be optimistic and cannot rely on a positive outcome anymore, but at the same time don’t want to give up their hopes and despite all difficulties still decide to believe in the possibility of their realization. In these cases, the central role of external resources related to mutual care and support, to a Divine Higher Power or to a benevolent metaphysical force such as luck or nature becomes apparent, not only to nurture hopefulness but also to encourage and develop confidence in one’s own capabilities and agency. People in different countries and cultures differ in the way they hope and in the activities they perform in order to see their hopes become true. Future research should be sensitive to such differences, choose a broader conceptualization of hope and integrate a variety of theoretical frameworks and empirical measures in order to do justice to such diverse phenomena.