The design and evaluation of a hope enhancement programme for adults
Pretorius, Charl Johan
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The aim of the research was to design and assess the effectiveness of a hope enhancement programme for a group of adults and the resulting influence on their general psychological well-being. The purpose of the programme was to increase hope, as conceptualised by Snyder et al. (1991), by enhancing participants' abilities to set feasible goals, planning ways to reach those goals (pathways) and increasing determination and motivation (agency) towards goal achievement. The workshop-format programme, presented by the researcher, consisted of six two-hour sessions spread over five days. The programme was developed through incorporating suggestions from existing Hope literature together with health psychological and positive psychology principles. In order to determine the impact of the programme, four measurement instruments were used, namely the Hope Scale, the Hunter Opinions and Personal Expectations Scale (HOPES), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) and the Sense of Coherence scale (SOC-29). A pre and post-test design included an experimental group (n = 8), control group (n = 8) and 'chat' group (n = 8). Prior to group compilation, screening interviews were conducted with interested participants to exclude those who had recently experienced trauma or displayed overt signs of psychological pathology. The control group received no intervention, while the 'chat' group, of which the researcher was also a member, was allowed to discuss topics of their choosing. The study groups comprised both men and women of different ages and socio-economic status. All participants were White and Afrikaans speaking. Descriptive statistics, psychometric analysis of the measuring instruments and significant differences between groups were calculated with the assistance of the STATISTICA (version 6) computer programme (Statsoft Inc., 2003). Reliability indices compared well with those recorded in the literature for the various scales. For the experimental group, the findings indicated an increase in the hope levels as reflected by significant improvement on the Hope Scale and the Hopefulness subscale of the HOPES. Subjective feedback from the group confirmed these findings. Psychological well-being improved, as shown by a significant increase in Sense of Coherence (SOC-29) along with a positive change in Satisfaction with Life (SWLS). Neither the control nor experimental groups revealed any significant changes. It was established that the hope enhancement programme is effective in increasing the levels of hope and general psychological well-being of a group of adults relatively free of psychological pathology. Considering the findings, it is recommended that future wellness intervention should not focus solely on individuals with established psychological pathology, but also consider a preventative approach within the average population.
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