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    The General Hopelessness Scale: development of a measure of hopelessness for non-clinical samples

    Drinkwater, Ken ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4015-0578, Denovan, Andrew ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9082-7225, Dagnall, Neil ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0657-7604 and Williams, Chris (2023) The General Hopelessness Scale: development of a measure of hopelessness for non-clinical samples. PLoS One, 18 (6). e0287016-e0287016. ISSN 1932-6203

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    Abstract

    Noting concerns about the non-clinical efficacy of the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), specifically the instrument’s ability to discriminate between lower levels of hopelessness, this paper describes the development of the General Hopelessness Scale (GHS) for use with general samples. Following a literature review an item pool assessing the breadth of the hopelessness construct domain was created. This was then placed in survey form and assessed within two independent studies. Study 1 (N = 305, 172 women, 133 men, Mage = 28.68) explored factorial structure, item performance, and convergent validity of the GHS in relation to standardised measures of self-esteem and trait hopelessness. In Study 2 (N = 326, 224 women, 102 men, Mage = 26.52), scrutiny of the GHS occurred using confirmatory factor analysis and invariance tests, alongside item performance and convergent validity analyses relative to measures of affect, optimism, and hope. Factor analysis (using minimum average partial correlations and exploratory factor analysis) within Study 1 revealed the existence of four dimensions (Negative Expectations, Hope, Social Comparison, and Futility), which met Rasch model assumptions (i.e., good item/person fit and item/person reliability). Further psychometric assessment within Study 2 found satisfactory model fit and gender invariance. Convergent validity testing revealed moderate to large associations between the GHS and theoretically relevant variables (self-esteem, trait hopelessness, affect, optimism, and hope) across Study 1 and 2. Further examination of performance (reliability and ceiling and floor effects) within Study 1 and 2 demonstrated that the GHS was a satisfactory measure in non-clinical settings. Additionally, unlike the BHS, the GHS does not assume that administrators are trained professionals capable of advising on appropriate interventions.

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