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Keynote: Hope is a Social Gift


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Dr. Chan Hellman's Keynote Address from the 2016 Science of HOPE conference.

Positive psychology is an emerging field focused on the scientific study of human strengths and the capacity for individuals, groups, and communities to thrive. Within this field, Hope has emerged as one of the top strengths contributing to well-being. This seminar will present the science of Hope as a meaningful resource in our ability to cope with traumatic experiences and flourish toward future goals, and will also present “hands-on” tools to assess hope and develop strategies to attain established desirable goals. Finally, this seminar will present scientific studies conducted by the University of Oklahoma’s Center of Applied Research for Nonprofit Organizations that demonstrate the power of hope among children and adults who have experienced trauma.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Keynote: Hope is a Social Gift

  1. 1. Is Hope Important?
  2. 2. Where I found hope. Young Male, Recent HIV+ diagnosis, Rejected by Family, Homeless and living under bridge…. Hopeless right?
  3. 3. Where I found hope. You Can’t Measure Hope! Anything that exists, exists to some degree and therefore can be measured
  4. 4. Where we see hope. At the heart of social change is the capacity to notice the discrepancy between the way things currently are and to understand that things can get better (Scollon & King, 2011).
  5. 5. The Desire to Flourish Positive Psychology (1998, 2000) unified researchers and practitioners to ask…. What are the psychological traits (strengths) that allow individuals, groups, and communities to thrive? Positive Psychology has identified 24 strengths (hope, zest, courage, self-control) that enhance our capacity to flourish. Improving these strengths allow us to be more engaged, experience positive emotions, develop and maintain positive relationships, and find meaning in the pursuit of goals (achievement).
  6. 6. The Desire to Flourish More importantly for my purposes to understand the young homeless male…. These strengths are important coping resources that can protect us from stress and adversity. Empirical studies of the 24 character strengths have demonstrated that hope is one of the top predictors of well being for both children and adults.
  7. 7. HOPE THEORY Hope requires the ability to create credible mental strategies (pathways) to achieve the goal and the ability to direct and maintain mental energy (agency) to these pursuits. Pathways Thinking = Waypower or mental roadmaps to goal attainment. Agency Thinking = Willpower that one can direct and sustain toward goal pursuits. High hope individuals often imagine multiple pathways that are crucial when encountering barriers.
  8. 8. HOPE THEORY Both pathways and agency are required for hope… agency without pathways is more likely a wish! Will PowerWill Power (Agency)(Agency) Way PowerWay Power (Pathways)(Pathways) EXPECTATIONEXPECTATION FOR GOALFOR GOAL ATTAINMENTATTAINMENT
  10. 10. THE BENEFITS OF HOPE Improved pro-social behaviors. Increased ability to self-regulate. Serves as a coping resource (e.g., cancer, spinal cord injury). Predicts goal attainment. Protects against burnout. Reduces the intensity of physical suffering. Predicts substance abstinence. Predicts lower recidivism. Improves well-being. Hopeful people experience improved social, psychological, and physical well-being.
  11. 11. THE LOSS OF HOPE Low hope individuals recognize their deficiency in pathways and agency. Lack sense of long term goals. Feel blocked from their goals. Approach goals with negative emotion and focus on failure. Higher negative affect. Higher likelihood of quitting goal pursuits. Higher anxiety and depression. Lower self-esteem. Lower problem solving skills. Higher likelihood of externalizing negative behaviors.
  12. 12. THE LOSS OF HOPE What is the opposite of hope?
  13. 13. THE LOSS OF HOPE Repeated failures at goals result in a general expectation that future goal attainment is not likely – “Why try?”
  14. 14. THE SCIENCE AND POWER OF HOPE SAMPLE LIST OF OUR STUDIES: Adverse Childhood Experience and Hope. Adult Homeless. Child Abuse Investigation. Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Parent-Child Relationship Quality and Hope (child abuse prevention). Child Therapy. Parenting Stress. Domestic Violence Shelter, Safety and Hope. Substance Abuse Treatment. Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. Mindfulness and Hope. Social Connectedness and Hope.
  15. 15. THE SCIENCE AND POWER OF HOPE RESULTS FROM CONFERENCE SURVEY (N=88) What we Measured: Hope (α= .87; 8-item Adult Hope Scale – Snyder et al 1991). Positive Affect (α = .85; 6-item SPANE -- Diener & Biswas-Diener, 2009). Negative Affect (α = .81; 6-item SPANE -- Diener & Biswas-Diener, 2009). Flourish (α = .85; 8-item -- Diener & Biswas-Diener, 2009). Life Satisfaction (α = .88; 5-item SWLS– Diener et al 1985).
  16. 16. THE SCIENCE AND POWER OF HOPE RESULTS FROM CONFERENCE SURVEY (N=88) Correlations Variable HOPE Positive Affect r = .50* Negative Affect r = -.49* Flourish r = .70* Life Satisfaction r = .66*
  17. 17. THE SCIENCE AND POWER OF HOPE RESULTS FROM CONFERENCE SURVEY (N=88) The Effect of Hope on Well-Being+ Variable HOPE Positive Affect β= .15 (ns) Negative Affect β = -.30* Hope β= .42* ΔR2 = .13 [F(3,73) = 19.20; p < .05] Adj. R2 = .50 Hope accounts for significant variance in well-being over-and-above positive and negative affect.
  18. 18. HOPE AS A SOCIAL GIFT Hope does not operate in a vacuum. Hope is a social gift in which our interactions with others matter. Children need a supportive environment and a caring role model (cheer leader). Education programs that target hope see an increase in Attendance, GPA and Graduation Rates. Human service programs are evidence based – best practice models unified in their purpose on improving the quality of life (Pathways). Hope leadership can improve performance and reduce turnover.
  19. 19. HOPE AS A SOCIAL GIFT Each of us are pathways to those around us. Be mindful of how you impact the hope of others.