Alliance and Suicide Prevention Lab

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Predicting Hopelessness: How Thinking About Our Future Impacts Our Present

By Ryan Lerch

An Undergraduate Honors Thesis In Progress

Project Overview

Hopelessness is a critical cognitive state to understand as it has numerous dire outcomes. While research over many years has produced reliable predictors of hopelessness, a relatively unexplored predictor is future-related attitudes. Specifically, little is known about Future Orientation, the general future-related attitudes a person possesses, and Future Expectancies, the specific hopes, fears, and expectations one has about the future, as they relate to hopelessness. The current study will collect data from 157 undergraduate students through the SONA online system in a cross sectional design. It is hypothesized that Future Orientation and Future Expectancies will be correlated with each other and each will be significantly correlated with hopelessness. Furthermore, when examining the domains of Future Expectancies comparatively, it is hypothesized that the domain each participant identifies as the most important to them will correlate more strongly with both Future Orientation and hopelessness than any domain of lesser importance. A potential indirect effect of Expectancies on hopelessness through Orientation will also be examined. Potential implications of this study include additional ways to understand and predict hopelessness, and aid in identification of students at risk of future negative outcomes.