An Exploration of Hope amongst Young People in South Africa
Hope is an important construct in the current positive psychology movement. In the process of exploring the relationship between hope and academic performance, our understanding of hope as a construct seemed to have similarities and differences with current definitions of hope. Initially an instrument to assess levels of hope and goal orientation was developed. From a qualitative analysis of what students regarded as hope, items were constructed and a questionnaire was applied to 474 social sciences students. The results were calibrated across gender and cultural groups using item response theory, specifically Rasch analysis. Five unidimensional constructs were identified (goal achievement resources, optimism, goal effectuality, current hopefulness/despondency, and self-efficacy). The meaning of these dimensions were explored and interpreted by comparing them to similar instruments and by examining the way items were ordered in the Rasch analysis. The interpretation was assisted by comparing gender and cultural groups.
Keywords: Hope, Hope in South Africa, Positive Psychology, Goal Orientation, Academic Performance, Rasch Analysis
Prof. David Maree
Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Pretoria
Ms Marinda Maree
Project Manager, Institute for Women's and Gender Studies, University of Pretoria