An Exploration of Hope amongst Young People in South Africa

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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
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. David Maree

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Pretoria
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

I am a full professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria. I am currently lecturing research methodology, cognitive psychology and statistics to graduate students. I have developed and coordinate a telematic course for the MA Research Psychology degree leading to professional registration as research psychologist in South Africa. I am involved in numerous projects related to the philosophy of science especially how Critical Realism can be applied to research in psychology; other work includes test development using Item Response Theory, specifically the Rasch model. I did my doctorate on cognition and consciousness.

Ms Marinda Maree

Project Manager, Institute for Women's and Gender Studies, University of Pretoria
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa


Ref: I08P0012