Developing Hopeful Minds: Can teaching Hope improve well-being and protective factors in children?

Karen Kirby, Sharon Sweeney, Cherie Armour, Kathryn Goetzke, Marie Dunne, Mairead Davidson, Myron Belfer

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The present study examined the efficacy of Hopeful Minds, a 12 week hope based school intervention programme in a sample of 153 pre- and early- adolescent secondary school children (11-14 years) in the North West of Ireland. This study used a one-group, pretest-posttest design to determine whether participants experienced changes regarding their hope, well-being, and a range of known protective factors. Results from a Wilcoxin Signed Ranks test showed significant increases in children’s hope scores post intervention. Resilience and adaptive coping skills of stoicism and social support seeking were also significantly improved. Although pre-post intervention improvements in well-being or emotional regulation/arousal scores were observed, results were non-significant. However, further analysis examined associations between hope and a range of well-being and protective factors using linear regression. Hope was found to be significantly associated with improvements in each of the well-being scores of anxiety, depression, resilience, positive emotion, reduced negative emotion, emotional control, stoicism, social support seeking and self-care. No associations were found between hope and rumination. This study builds upon the extant evidence for the implementation of the Hopeful Minds school based intervention. Further, the study demonstrates that teaching and thereby increasing hope has a significant positive impact on child and adolescent well-being and a range of protective factors; factors known to buffer against mental ill health and suicide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number1476-489X
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Apr 2021


  • Hope theory
  • Developing
  • children's wellbeing
  • protective factors


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