CHALLENGES IN THE OPERATIONALIZATION OF HOPE
The definition of hope might be commonly described as a feeling or wish that things will turn out for the best. Literature on the construct of hope has tended to focus on behavioral outcomes among individuals who provide reports on their perceived level of hope. Studies suggest that high levels of hope seem to be correlated with positive impact on factors such as survival outcomes (Miller and Powers, 1998) as well as academic and athletic performance (Snyder, 2002), while low levels of hope have been associated with poorer behavioral outcomes and mood disturbances. Several instruments have emerged recently that attempt to provide a more accurate measurement of hope. However, no consistent operational definition exists for this construct, and instruments vary considerably in how they purport to define and measure hope. Further, no instruments have been developed which might measure collective hope within social and community groups. As a result, there is a dearth of literature on how improving hope within a community might impact on quality of life for its members.
This presentation will discuss the challenges of defining, operationalizing and measuring hope, and how overcoming these challenges might have positive impact on individual and community development.