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Psychol Rep. 1994 Aug;75(1 Pt 2):456-8.

Hope, hopelessness, and suicidality in college students.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg 39406-5025.


To estimate the associations among measures of hope, hopelessness, and suicidality, 206 undergraduates completed the Reasons for Living Inventory, the Hopelessness Scale, and the Hope Scale. As expected, significant correlations indicated that, as hope increased, hopelessness decreased. Those who scored as relatively more suicidal had relatively fewer feelings of total hope (Agency and Pathways) and more hopelessness. Further, scores on three Reasons for Living scales (Coping Beliefs, Family Responsibility, and Child Concerns) were significantly correlated in expected directions with hope and hopelessness scores. A stepwise multiple regression indicated that scores on Survival, Coping Beliefs and the Hope subscale Agency accounted for 37% of the total variance in suicidality. Apparently in unscreened college students, survival and coping beliefs and hope rather than hopelessness or other reasons for living are most related to suicidality. An implication is that facilitating college students' hopefulness may bolster their survival and coping beliefs and discourage development of suicidal thoughts or actions.

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