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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989 Aug;57(4):496-9.

Levels of hopelessness in children and adolescents: a developmental perspective.


We investigated hopelessness at 3 age levels (8-, 12-, and 17-year-olds) in 210 children and adolescents from a community sample derived from public school listings of 4,810 children in a midwestern college town. The sample included 105 boys and 105 girls, and there were 70 subjects in each age group. The major finding was that children with high hopelessness scores are at greater risk not only for suicide and depression as revealed by the Child Assessment Schedule and the Birleson Depression Scale but also for overall psychopathology. This study suggests that hopelessness does not increase from preadolescence to adolescence in a general population.

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