ArticlePDF Available

Role of hope in academic and sport achievement

Authors:

Abstract

Hope is the sum of goal thoughts as tapped by pathways and agency. Pathways reflect the perceived capability to produce goal routes; agency reflects the perception that one can initiate action along these pathways. Using trait and state hope scales, studies explored hope in college student athletes. In Study 1, male and female athletes were higher in trait hope than nonathletes; moreover, hope significantly predicted semester grade averages beyond cumulative grade point average and overall self-worth. In Study 2, with female cross-country athletes, trait hope predicted athletic outcomes; further, weekly state hope tended to predict athletic outcomes beyond dispositional hope, training, and self-esteem, confidence, and mood. In Study 3, with female track athletes, dispositional hope significantly predicted athletic outcomes beyond variance related to athletic abilities and affectivity; moreover, athletes had higher hope than nonathletes.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1997,
Vol 73, No. 6, 1257-1267
Copyright 1997 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
0022-3514/97/$3.00
Role of Hope in Academic and Sport Achievement
Lewis A. Curry
University of Montana
C. R. Snyder and David L. Cook
University of Kansas
Brent C. Ruby and Michael Rehm
University of Montana
Hope is the sum of goal thoughts as tapped by pathways and agency. Pathways reflect the perceived
capability to produce goal routes; agency reflects the perception that one can initiate action along
these pathways. Using trait and state hope scales, studies explored hope in college student athletes.
In Study 1, male and female athletes were higher in trait hope than nonathletes; moreover, hope
significantly predicted semester grade averages beyond cumulative grade point average and overall
self-worth. In Study 2, with female cross-country athletes, trait hope predicted athletic outcomes;
further, weekly state hope tended to predict athletic outcomes beyond dispositional hope, training,
and self-esteem, confidence, and mood. In Study 3, with female track athletes, dispositional hope
significantly predicted athletic outcomes beyond variance related to athletic abilities and affectivity;
moreover, athletes had higher hope than nonathletes.
A typical dictionary definition of hope as "a desire and the
confident expectation of its fulfillment" captures one of the
fundamental reasons that humans enjoy sporting activities (Ost-
erhoudt, 1978). From the First Olympiad in 776 B.C. to neigh-
borhood basketball games to next year's Super Bowl, the ath-
letes'
hopes for desired sport goals are pivotal to understanding
these activities. Nevertheless, the role of hope has remained
unexplored among personality researchers interested in individ-
ual differences in motivation, as well as by sport psychologists,
largely because a theoretical model of hope and the associated
measurement instruments have not been available. Accordingly,
on the basis of the recent development of a theory of hope and
measurement indices related to this construct, the present series
of studies was performed to provide initial information about
the role of hope in the academic and sport achievements of
college students.
Previously, scholarly writings have defined hope as a unidi-
mensional construct involving an overall perception that goals
can be met (French, 1952; Lewin, 1935; Stotland, 1969). Ex-
panding on this unidimensional model, Snyder and his col-
leagues (Snyder, 1994a, 1994b; Snyder, Harris, et al., 1991;
Lewis A. Curry, Brent C. Ruby, and Michael Rehm, Department of
Health and Human Performance, University of Montana; C. R. Snyder,
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas; David L. Cook, De-
partment of Health, Physical Education, and Research, University of
Kansas. David L. Cook is now in independent practice in Dallas, Texas.
Study 2 was partially supported by a grant from the 1995-1996
University Grant Program at the University of Montana. We thank Scott
Hershberger for his statistical consultation.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lewis
A. Curry, Department of Health and Human Performance, 109 McGill
Hall, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812-1055, or to C. R.
Snyder, Department of Psychology, 305 Fraser Hall, University of Kan-
sas,
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-2462. Electronic mail may be sent via the
Internet to curry58@selway.umt.edu or to crsnyder@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu.
Snyder, Sympson, et al., 1996) have suggested that goal-directed
thinking is made up of two necessary components. First, there
is pathways thinking, which reflects the person's capacity to
conceptualize one or more avenues by which to arrive at the
desired goal. Second, there is agentic thinking, which taps
thoughts aimed at initiating and sustaining movement along
one's chosen pathways toward a desired goal. In turn, hope
reflects the iterative sum of pathways and agentic thinking. More
specifically, Snyder, Harris, et al.
(1991,
p. 571) defined hope
as a "cognitive set that is based on a reciprocally derived sense
of successful (a) agency (goal-directed determination) and (b)
pathways (planning of ways to meet goals)."
It does not suffice in terms of hope to have just pathways or
agentic thinking. Consider, for example, Athlete A who can
think of many differing moves to get free and shoot the basket-
ball (i.e., high pathways thinking), but who is not motivated to
practice these moves (i.e., low agentic thinking). Without the
necessary agentic thinking, she cannot be said to have high
hope. Conversely, Athlete B is highly motivated to become an
outstanding basketball player (i.e., high agentic thinking), but
cannot think of moves to get free to launch her shots (i.e., low
pathways thinking). For all her agentic thoughts, her lack of
pathways thinking precludes her having high hope. In these
examples, a high-hope basketball player needs both pathways
and agentic thought.
Hope theory differs from three other related models. First,
there is goal-setting theory in the sport achievement literature
(Burton, 1992, 1993; Hall & Byrne, 1988; Kyllo & Landers,
1995;
Locke,
1991;
Weinberg, 1994), where the emphasis is on
the outcome expectancies related to how one attains the desired
goal. This may be similar to the pathways component of hope
theory. Second, there is sport achievement self-efficacy, or situa-
tional sport confidence (Lemer & Locke, 1995; Vealey, 1986;
Weinberg, Gould, & Jackson, 1979; Wurtele, 1986), which is
related to Bandura's (1977) self-efficacy theory. Third, there is
1257
1258
CURRY, SNYDER, COOK, RUBY, AND REHM
sport performance positive and negative affectivity (Crocker &
Graham, 1995a, 1995b; Gould, Eklund, & Jackson, 1992a,
1992b; Martin & Anshel, 1995; Renger, 1993; Terry, 1995),
where one's derived sense of positive and negative emotions are
related to perceptions of success or failure in a given situation.
Although these latter two models do include notions about a
person's outcome expectancies (i.e., knowledge of the appro-
priate contingencies in a given situation), the emphasis is on
one's situational thoughts and emotions related to perceptions
of goal success and failure as being the major determinant of
sport achievement behavior. As such, these two approaches may
be similar to the agency component in hope theory. Differing
from the three aforementioned theories, hope theory posits that
it is crucial to tap both the cognitive processes related to path-
ways goal-directed thinking and the associated agentic thoughts
about the use of those pathways (see Snyder, Irving, & Ander-
son, 1991, for further discussion of the distinctions between
hope, goal-setting, self-efficacy, and positive and negative af-
fectivity theorization).
Using this theory of hope, Snyder and his colleagues have
developed and validated self-report instruments tapping disposi-
tional hope for children (see Snyder, Hoza, et al., 1997) and
adults (see Snyder, Harris, et al., 1991), as well as a state index
that measures ongoing hope in adults (see Snyder, Sympson,
et al., 1996). Each of these self-report instruments has items
reflecting pathways thinking, as well as agentic thinking toward
goals.
These scales have surpassed psychometric standards re-
garding internal and temporal consistency, and the items consis-
tently yield a two-factor solution (pathways and agency), as
well as a summation factor (hope). In a series of confirmatory
factor analyses, the agency and pathways components were
found to be related but distinct constructs; further, these analyses
have revealed that the agency and pathways components should
be considered as an aggregate reflecting the theorized overarch-
ing, goal-directed thinking construct of hope (Babyak, Sny-
der, & Yoshinobu, 1993). Because hope is conceptualized as
the sum of pathways and agentic thinking, and factor analyses
have borne out such aggregation, the hope scores on these scales
reflect the sum of the agency and pathway items. To date, re-
search has shown that hope as measured by both the disposi-
tional and state scales is an effective predictor of various aca-
demic and coping activities (for reviews, see Snyder, 1994b;
Snyder, Irving, & Anderson, 1991), and that hope makes such
predictions beyond variance due to other related psychological
or achievement indices.
What has not been explored to date, however, is the predictive
capability of hope when applied to either the academic or sport
activities of student-athletes. The general purpose of the present
studies, therefore, was to begin investigations into the role of
hope in two areas that are important to student-athletes—their
academic and sport achievements. More specifically, the present
three studies were conducted to test the hypotheses that higher
hope in student-athletes should relate positively to their aca-
demic and sport achievements. In the process of examining these
general questions, other variables that may provide counterex-
planations for the hypothesized hope results also are explored.
That is to say, although hope should relate positively to academic
and sport achievements, there are a variety of other motivational,
emotional, and ability-related constructs that also may provide
explanations for such achievement advantages. Therefore, con-
structs related to hope also are examined in these studies.
At a time when researchers are searching for new psychologi-
cal constructs to help explain sport achievement variability
(Burton, 1993; Greenspan & Feltz, 1989; Hall & Byrne, 1988;
Kirschenbaum, 1984; Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990; Raglin,
1992;
Vealey, 1992; Whelan, Mahoney, & Meyers, 1991), the
present series of studies sought to explore one such new concept,
hope, and its potential positive role in athletes' academic and
sport achievements. Beyond the potential implications that hope
may have for researchers focused on sports achievements, this
hope construct also may offer insights for personality research-
ers who are examining motivational factors that may be common
to high achievers in other performance settings.
Study 1: Dispositional Hope
and Academic Achievement
The first purpose of Study 1 was to ascertain how hopeful
college athletes are in comparison to nonathletes. Because col-
lege athletes must be very goal oriented in their thinking, and
because sports represents an arena that is important and highly
valued in their lives, it was predicted that they should score
higher in dispositional hope than a comparison group of college
students. This is not meant to suggest, however, that such athletes
would be higher in hope than other highly goal-oriented college
students who excel in various arenas of college achievement
(e.g., music, academics, politics, debate, etc.), but rather that
they should have higher hope than the typical college student.
The second purpose of Study
1
was to examine whether higher
hope among athletes relates to better classroom achievement.
Given that previous research shows that hope significantly pre-
dicts high-school and college academic achievement among non-
athletes, it was hypothesized that among athletes, higher hope
should relate positively and significantly to academic achieve-
ment. Lastly, because self-worth or esteem may provide an alter-
native explanation for any hope results in regard to the two
aforementioned hypotheses, a measure of self-worth also was
taken in Study 1 to examine this counterexplanation.
Method
Participants
Participants in Study 1 came from two student populations. The first
population consisted of all undergraduate National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA) Division I student athletes enrolled at the Univer-
sity of Montana (N = 370); the second population, of nonathletes,
consisted of all undergraduate students, excluding student athletes and
nontraditional students, enrolled at the same university (N = 7,378).
Stratified random samples were taken from each population so as to
recruit roughly equal numbers of atliletes and nonathletes by year in
school (1, 2, 3, and 4) and gender. For each of the 16 cells formed by
an Athletic Status (yes, no) x Year in School (1, 2, 3, and 4) x Gender
(male, female) design, the modal final number of participants was 11
per cell. The goal was to have approximately equal cell sizes, but some
participants were discarded because they (a) were no longer participat-
ing in athletics, (b) had dropped out of school (no differential dropout
rates related to athletic status, year in school, or gender), or (c) did not
complete major portions of the questionnaires (no discernible pattern to
this process in terms of athletic status, year in school, or gender). As
HOPE
IN
ACADEMIC
AND
SPORT ACHIEVEMENT
1259
such,
a
quasi-experimental design resulted
in
Study
1.
Prospective parti-
cipants were called
and
given
a
brief description
of the
study,
and
their
participation
was
solicited;
if
they agreed,
an
appointment
was
made.
The final counts
of
participants were
as
follows:
41
male athletes,
45
female athletes,
44
male nonathletes,
and 40
female nonathletes.
The
mean
age for
athletes
and
nonathletes
was 20.5
years, with less than
5% being African Americans
and
Native Americans.
Measures
Dispositional Hope Scale.
The
dispositional Hope Scale (Snyder,
Harris,
et al., 1991)
contains four agency items (e.g.,
"I
energetically
pursue
my
goals,"
and "I
meet
the
goals that
I set for
myself"), four
pathways items (e.g., "There
are
lots
of
ways around
any
problem,"
and
"I can
think
of
many ways
to get the
things
in
life that
are
most
important
to me"), and
four distractor items. Respondents rate
how
accurately each item describes them generally
on an
8-point Likert scale
(I
=
definitely false,
2 =
mostly false,
3 =
somewhat false,
4 =
slightly
false,
5 =
slightly true,
6 =
somewhat true,
7 =
mostly true,
8
definitely true),
and the
index
is
conceptualized
as an
enduring, disposi-
tional
one. On the
basis
of the
theory positing that hope reflects both
agentic
and
pathway thinking together (Snyder, Harris,
et al.,
1991),
as
well
as
confirmatory factor analyses supporting this supposition
(Ba-
byak, Snyder,
&
^bshinobu, 1993),
the
hope score reflects
the sum of
the
agency
and
pathways items.
The
Hope Scale
has
demonstrated adequate
internal
and
test-retest reliabilities,
as
well
as
concurrent construct
va-
lidity
in
terms
of ils
correlations with other related measures (Snyder,
Harris,
et al.,
1991); moreover,
it has
discriminant utility
in
predicting
goal-related outcomes beyond variances attributable
to
other measures
(Snyder, 1994b). Cronbach's alpha
of the
Hope Scale
in
Study
1
was
.73.
Self-Perception Profile
for
College Students (SPPCS; Neeman
&
Barter, 1986). Given that
an
individual's self-worth has been theorized
to influence future goal-related behaviors (Burns,
1979;
Rosenberg,
1979),
an
index
of
global self-worth
was
included
in
Study
1 to
rule
this
out as a
counterexplanation
for any
hope-related effects.
In
this
regard, Neeman
and
Harter's SPPCS
was
used
to
measure global
self-
worth.
The
SPPCS allows
the
researcher
to
discern differences
in
college
students' evaluations
of
global self-worth
by
aggregating responses
to
six self-report items. Previous results with
the
scale support
its
internal
and retest reliabilities,
as
well
as
construct validity (Crocker
&
Ells-
worth, 1990; Neeman
&
Harter, 1986). Cronbach's alpha
for
this global
self-worth index
in
Study
1 was .87.
Procedure
The participant arrived
at a
quiet room,
and the
male experimenter
gave
him or her an
overview
of the
study. After signing
the
consent
form,
the
participant completed
the
Hope Scale
and the
global
self-
worth index. Upon completion
of
these instruments,
the
participant
was
given
an
overview
of the
purposes
of
the study, thanked,
and
dismissed.
The grades
of the
athletes
are
public record because
of the
NCAA
regulations; accordingly,
the
athletes' grades
for
the subsequent semester
and cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) were secured.
For the
nonathietes, however, the Committee
on
Human Subjects
did not
approve
the request
to
have these students sign
a
release
of
their grade informa-
tion; accordingly, grades were
not
available from
the
nonathlete students.
Results
The Hope Scale scores were entered
as the
dependent variable
in
a 2
(athletic status:
yes, no) X 4
(year
in
school:
1, 2, 3, and
4)
X 2
(gender: male, female) analysis
of
variance (ANOVA),
and
the
only significant finding
was a
main effect
of
athletic
status,
F(l, 154)=
15.76,p< .0005 (one-tailed, given
a
priori
hypotheses), such that the athletes
had
higher Hope Scale scores
(M
=
54.61,
SD = 5.75)
than
the
nonathletes
(M =
51.65,
SD
4.60). There also
was a
slight trend
for a
year-in-school main
effect,
F(\ 154) =
2.20,
p = .090; the
means
for
Years
1-4
were 53.20
(SD =
4.92),
51.76 (SD =
6.83), 53.00
(SD =
4.68),
and
54.66
(SD =
4.76), respectively, with only
the
Years
2
and 4
difference approaching significance
(p = .075;
these
and subsequent post
hoc
tests
are
Tukey honestly significant
difference tests).
The global self-worth scores were entered
as the
dependent
variable
in the
same 2x4x2
ANON5\,
and the
only significant
finding
was a
main effect
of
year
in
school,
F(3, 154) = 3.06,
p
< .030; the
means
for
Years
1-4
were
3.39 (SD -
0.57),
3.12
(SD =
0.62),
3.32 (SD =
0.62),
and 3.48 (SD =
0.53),
respectively, with only Years
2 and 4
differing significantly
(p
<
.03).
Hope
and
global self-worth correlated positively
for
athletes,
r(82)
= .35, p <
.0005,
and
nonathletes,
r(84) = .56, p <
.0005 (one-tailed). Because
of the
positive relation between
hope
and
self-worth,
the
question arises
as to
whether
the
afore-
mentioned main effect
of
hope (i.e., athletes having higher Hope
Scale scores than nonathletes) remains when the shared variance
related
to
global self-worth
is
covaried.
In
this regard, when
global self-worth
was
covaried
in the 2
(athletic status:
yes, no)
X
4
(year
in
school:
1, 2, 3, and 4) X 2
(gender: male, female)
ANOVA
the
global self-worth covariate
was
significant,
F(l,
153)
=
28.50,
p <
.0005,
and the
only other significant effect
was
the
athletic status main effect,
F(l, 153) =
17.72,
p <
.0005 (one-tailed), such that
the
athletes again were higher
in
hope than
the
nonathletes.
For
the
athletes, hope significantly predicted semester
GPA,
R
2
=
.08,
p =
.0009,
but
global self-worth
did not, R
2
= .02,
p
.107
(one-tailed).
To
ascertain whether hope augmented
the global self-worth
and
semester
GPA
relation,
a
hierarchical
regression
was
performed
in
which global self-worth
was en-
tered
in the
first step
and
hope
at the
second step.
In
this latter
regard, hope contributed significant
and
unique variance
to the
semester GPA beyond global self-worth,
A/?
2
=
.06,
p <
.0005
(one-tailed).
In
a
stringent test
of the
predictive capabilities
of the
Hope
Scale
for
athletes' semester GPAs,
a
hierarchical regression
tested whether Hope Scale scores provided additional predictive
variance beyond both cumulative
GPA and
global self-worth.
1
Using semester GPAs
as
the criterion,
in the
first step, cumulative
GPA
was a
significant predictor,
R
2
= .70, p <
.0005; when
global self-worth
was
entered
in
Step
2, it did not
augment
the
prediction,
AR
2
= .00, ns;
finally, Hope Scale scores entered
at Step
3
significantly augmented
the
prediction,
AR
2
=
.02,
p
=
.025
(one-tailed).
Discussion
The sampled college athletes were higher than
the
nonathletes
in hope,
but not
global self-worth. Further, whereas hope corre-
1
This
is a
conservative test
of the
predictive capabilities
of
Hope
Scale scores
for the
present semester because Hope Scale Scores,
as
measured
in two
previous studies, have been shown
to be
positively
and
significantly
(R
2
= .04)
predictive
of
cumulative college grades (Snyder,
1260
CURRY, SNYDER, COOK, RUBY,
AND
REHM
lated positively with self-worth, the covariance analyses indicate
that the higher hope of athletes in comparison to nonathletes
was not related to the shared variance of esteem. Given that
hope reflects an adaptive, goal-directed type of thinking, such
thoughts are important to all college students, but especially to
athletes who face the additional arenas of goal activities related
to their sports.
Both the self-worth and, to a lesser degree, the hope results
suggested that sophomores were at a lower level than college
seniors on these variables. Although these findings are not ger-
mane to the focus of Study 1, they are consistent with a phenom-
enon known as the "sophomore slump."
The most important findings of Study
1
relate to the capability
of the Hope Scale scores for predicting semester GPA, even
when shared variance related to cumulative GPA is removed.
Obviously, as based on logic and the results of Step I of the
regression, cumulative GPA is a robust predictor of subsequent
semester GPA. Although dispositional Hope Scale scores aug-
ment the prediction of semester grades, and do so significantly,
it should be noted that only 2% of the additional variance is
accounted for. This finding with athletes replicates earlier find-
ings with nonathlete college students, wherein Hope Scale
scores have predicted academic achievement beyond previous
markers of academic achievement (Snyder, Harris, ctal., 1991).
Study 2: Dispositional and State Hope, Related Indices,
and Sport Achievement
Having established a positive relation between Hope Scale
scores and academic achievement in Study L, the first and major
question in Study 2 is whether hope is predictive of actual sport
achievement. Specifically, given the advantages that higher hope
persons have had in goal-pursuit activities in previous research
(see Snyder, 1994b, for review), it was predicted that higher
hope would relate to better sport achievement.
A second set of questions in Study 2 pertains to the unique
predictive sport achievement capabilities of hope that are beyond
other psychological markers, as well as amount of sport practice,
that are taken on the week before actual performances. These
latter questions pertain to the ruling out of counterexplanations
related to any hope results that are obtained. Coaches and their
athletes naturally are focused on actual sport outcomes, as well
as on any psychological markers that may help to understand and
predict better achievement. Additionally, personality researchers
interested in motivation may find it useful to better understand
the relation of hope to an actual physical performance marker.
For these reasons, Study 2 was performed.
Method
Participants
Nine female cross-country runners
at the
University
of
Montana
signed
a
consent form
in
which they volunteered to record their thoughts
and feelings,
as
well
as
their practice training volume throughout
the
11-week season.
Harris,
et
al., 1991). Further,
in
Study 1, Hope Scale scores significantly
predicted overall GPA,
r(84) =
.19,
p < .04,
one-tailed.
Measures
Dispositional Hope Scale. This
is the
same dispositional measure
described
in
Study
1.
Cronbach's alpha
for
the dispositional Hope Scale
in Study
2 was .78.
State Hope Scale (Snyder. Sympson,
et
al.. 1996).
The
State Hope
Scale
was
included because
of its
theoretical relation
to
dispositional
hope,
and
because ongoing reports
of
state hope scores previously have
related positively
to
intellectual
and
motor-skill achievements {Snyder,
Sympson.
et al.,
1996). That
is to say,
persons
who
report
an
ongoing
state level
of
hope that
is
elevated also
are
likely
to
perform well
on
achievement tasks related
to
cognitive
and
physical skills.
As
such, state
hope
was
included
so as to
document
how it
augments
the
prediction
of cross-country achievement beyond dispositional hope. This 6-item
measure
of
state hope comprises three agency items
and
three pathways
items (Snyder, Sympson,
et al.,
1996).
The
items
are
reworded from
the dispositional Hope Scale
so as to tap the
present tense (e.g.,
two
agency items
are "At the
present time,
I am
energetically pursuing
my
goals,"
and "At
this time,
I am
meeting
the
goals that
I
have
set for
myself;"
two
pathways items
are
"There
are
lots
of
ways around
any
problem that
T
am facing now,"
and "I
can think
of
many ways
to
reach
my current goals"). Participants
are
asked
to
select
the
number (from
1
=
definitely false,
to 8 =
definitely true) that best describes
"how
you think about yourself right now."
The
total State Hope Scale score
is
the
sum
of
the six item scores. The State Hope Scale has high internal
reliability,
as
well
as
concurrent validity
in
relation
to
other related state
measures
and
discriminant utility
in
that
it is
sensitive enough
to
capture
the variability
in
level
of
hope
at
particular points
in
time
and
does
so
beyond projections
due to
other state indices (Snyder, Sympson,
et al.,
1996).
The
average (across
the
weeks
of
Study
2)
Cronbach's alpha
for
the
State Hope Scale
was .70.
State Self-Esteem Scale (Heatherton
&
Polivy, 1991).
A
measure
of self-esteem
was
included
in the
present study because one's ongoing
esteem
may
reflect
a
temporally accurate appraisal
of
athletic goal
pur-
suits.
In
other words,
it may be
that
the
athlete's state esteem
is a
more
robust predictor
of
achievement than either dispositional
or
state hope,
and
as
such
it
was important to examine this self-esteem counterexplana-
tion. Heatherton
and
Polivy developed
the
20-item State Self-Esteem
Scale
to
measure esteem
at a
given poinl
in
time. The State Self-Esteem
Scale
is
internally consistent
and has
received construct validational
support
in
several studies.
The
average (across
the
weeks
of
Study
2)
Cronbach's alpha
for the
State Self-Esteem Scale
was .69.
State Sport Confidence Scale (Vealey, 1986).
A
measure
of
self-
efficacy
was
included
in
Study
2
because hope,
in
part, reflects percep-
tions
of
personal agency.
In
particular,
the
agency component relates
to
the
efficacy component
of the
larger self-efficacy concept. Vealey
conceptualized and developed
a
sport-specific
and
time-specific individ-
ual-differences measure
of
sport confidence that is based on self-efficacy,
perceived competence,
and
expectancy research. Defined
as "the
belief
or degree
of
certainty individuals possess about their ability
to be suc-
cessful
in
sport" (Vealey, 1986,
p.
222), sport confidence
in
the present
study
was
measured
as a
stale construct tapping agentic thoughts aimed
al initiating
and
sustaining movement toward success
in
sports. Psycho-
metric testing
of
the 13-item State Sport Confidence Scale has supported
its internal
and
retest reliabilities,
as
well
as
concurrent
and
construct
validity (Vealey, 1986).
The
average (across
the
weeks
of
Study
2)
Cronbach's alpha
for the
Stale Sport Confidence Scale
was .96.
State Profile
of
Mood Stales (POMS; McNair, Lorr,
&
Doppleman,
1971).
It
may well be that mood provides a more parsimonious alterna-
tive explanation
for any
differential cross-country running achievement
that
is
attained rather than hope
per
se. Therefore,
an
index
of
mood
was
included. The POMS has been extensively used
in
sport
and
personality
research
to
measure psychological mood states (Auweele, DeCuyper,
van Mele,
&
Rzewnicki, 1993; Terry, 1995). The POMS
is a
self-report
questionnaire consisting
of 65
adjectives designed
to
reflect
six
mood
HOPE IN ACADEMIC AND SPORT ACHIEVEMENT
1261
states (tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion, and vigor). These
factors can be combined to measure total mood disturbance by adding
the five negative mood states and subtracting the one positive factor of
vigor, and this overall index was used in the present study. The POMS
has four possible instructions, and the "last week including today" was
utilized in this study. Previous research indicates that the POMS has
acceptable internal reliability and construct validity (McNair, Lorr, &
Doppleman, 1971). The average (across the weeks of Study 2) Cron-
bach's alpha for the total POMS was .86.
Weekly training mileage report. Another obvious potential predictor
of cross-country achievement is the amount of practice put in by athletes
each week prior to their meets. Therefore, in Study 2, we wanted to
ascertain whether hope predicted achievement beyond weekly practicing.
A questionnaire measuring exercise mileage (training volume) was ad-
ministered to the participants for each of the 11 weeks. Weekly training
mileage was cross-checked with the training schedule that was monitored
by the women's cross-country coach, and in this sense the weekly prac-
tice reports were verified.
Procedure
The female athletes completed the dispositional Hope Scale at the
beginning of the study; moreover, on a weekly basis throughout the
course of Study 2, they completed the following measures (in the same
order):
State Hope Scale, State Self-Esteem Scale, State Sport Confi-
dence, POMS, and the weekly training mileage report. These latter indi-
ces were taken weekly because of the desire to measure the ongoing
states of the female athletes during a time period that was relatively
close to their actual achievements.
Results
Due to the varied nature of the cross-country courses and
changing weekly weather conditions, individual meet results
were standardized to z scores based on times recorded in relation
to the other participants in each race. There were seven sanc-
tioned meets held during the time of Study 2, with a total of 51
meet results accrued across the nine runners.
To examine the unique contribution of the various variables
to meet achievement, two hierarchical maximum likelihood re-
gressions with autocorrelated error were performed on the crite-
rion of running achievement. Because of correlated error re-
sulting from the fact that each athlete participated in several
meets,
autoregression procedures for autocorrelated errors were
used (see SPSS, 1993).
A first autoregression hierarchical regression involved the
incremental contributions of dispositional hope, weekly training
practice, and weekly state hope in predicting faster running
times.
The variables were entered in this order so as to test the
a priori hypothesis that dispositional hope would predict better
running times, and that, in turn, subsequent weekly practice
time and state hope would increase the predictions. When the
dispositional Hope Scale scores were entered at Step 1, they
significantly predicted performance, R
2
.50, p < .0003 (these
and subsequent tests in this section were one-tailed because of
a priori hypotheses). When weekly training mileage was entered
at Step 2, it tended to augment the prediction, AR
2
.06, p =
.056.
Lastly, State Hope Scale scores entered at Step 3 tended
to augment the prediction, AR
2
= .06, p = .081. Together,
dispositional and state hope accounted for 56% of the predictive
variance related to faster running performances.
A second autoregression involved an a priori hypothesis that
state hope should positively increment the prediction of faster
running times after dispositional hope and all other affect- and
efficacy-related variables had been entered. Accordingly, in this
stringent hierarchical regression, the dispositional Hope Scale
scores were entered at Step 1, and they significantly predicted
better performance, R
2
= .50, p <
.0003.
When State
Self-
Esteem was entered at Step 2, it did not augment the prediction,
A/?
2
= .00, p = .319; State Sport Confidence entered at Step
3 did not augment the prediction, although it approached sig-
nificance, AR
2
= .05, p = .117; State Total POMS entered at
Step 4 did not augment the prediction, AR
2
=
.01,
p = .156;
and lastly, State Hope Scale scores entered at Step 5 tended to
augment the prediction, AR
2
- .02, p = .059.
2
The hierarchical autoregression results indicate that only dis-
positional hope was a significant predictor of performance, and
that there were trends for weekly practice and state hope to add
to the prediction. Using simple correlations to tell a similar
story, the correlations of these three variables with faster running
performances were as follows: dispositional hope, r(49) =
-.61;
weekly training mileage, r(45) = -.50; and state hope,
r
(42) = -.43, all ps < .005. Thus, higher dispositional and
state hope, as well as weekly practice, related to quicker running
times.
Among the motivational and emotion-related indices, dis-
positional hope, and to a small degree, state hope, augmented
the predictions of faster running times.
Discussion
The results of Study 2 expand those of Study 1 so as to
suggest that both dispositional and state hope are robust pre-
dictors of actual sport achievement. Together, dispositional and
state hope accounted for 56% of the variance in predicting sport
performance. What is equally noteworthy, however, is that while
dispositional and state hope predicted a sizable portion of vari-
ance,
the other psychological state indices related to self-esteem,
confidence, and mood did not contribute significant variances
to these predictions.
Although one should not generalize from the results of one
study, if these results are replicated, they would suggest that
hope may provide a useful predictive tool for coaches in gauging
how their athletes will do in sport achievement settings. This
latter inference is bolstered by the fact that State Hope Scale
scores actually tended to predict sport achievement beyond the
amount of time that the athletes reported practicing each week.
In other words, although practice tends to predict sport perfor-
mance outcomes, both state and dispositional hope give re-
searchers, coaches, and their athletes additional insights into
actual sport performance.
2
Although hope reflects the sum of agency and pathways on the basis
of previous theoretical (see Snyder, 1994b) and empirical analyses (see
Babyak, Snyder, & Yoshinobu, 1993), it is of interest to enter these
separately through autoregression procedures with autocorrelated errors
(SPSS,
1993), using running achievement as the criterion variable.
Therefore, separate autoregressions also were performed using the
agency and pathways components of the dispositional and State Hope
Scales. Results consistently showed that roughly half of the predictive
variance was related to each component. These findings lend support to
the aggregation of agency and pathways.
1262 CURRY, SNYDER, COOK, RUBY,
AND
REHM
Study
3:
Dispositional Hope, Natural Ability,
Affectivity,
and
Sport Achievement
Study 2 provides strong evidence that Hope Scale scores
predicted the running performances of the female cross-country
runners; moreover, the performance predictions stemming from
hope transcend those related to athletes' practice, as well as
other state indices of emotion and esteem. Additional important
and stringent tests remain, however, in relation to the predictive
properties of hope to sport achievement. First, do scores on the
dispositional Hope Scale predict athletic achievements beyond
projections due to natural athletic talent? In regard to this ques-
tion, it was predicted that higher dispositional hope would posi-
tively augment the prediction of actual track performance be-
yond projections related to natural ability.
Second, personality theorists and researchers in the last de-
cade have emphasized the importance of positive and negative
affectivity in relation to understanding a variety of human ac-
tions (see Clark & Watson, 1991, for review). On this point,
affectivity may serve as an alternative variable that drives the
hypothesized relationship of dispositional hope and superior ath-
letic achievement. Related research suggests that ongoing posi-
tive and negative affectivity play mediational roles in the rela-
tions of other variables in general (Costa & McCrae, 1987), as
well as hope-related ones in particular (e.g., optimism, see
Smith, Pope, Rhodewalt, & Poulton, 1989). In sport research,
positive affectivity reflects a challenge-like, energetic engage-
ment, along with a pleasurable concentration (Jackson, 1995;
Jackson & Roberts, 1992). Moreover, negative affectivity re-
flects negative thoughts and dissatisfaction with
oneself,
along
with anxiety and worry (Crocker & Graham, 1995b; Gould et
al.,
1992a, 1992b). An index of positive and negative affectivity
was included in Study 3 to examine these constructs as possible
counterexplanations for the predicted positive relation between
hope and athletic performance.
A third purpose of Study 3 was to test the replicability of
Study 1 findings in regard to athletes having higher hope than
nonathletes. Thus, the Hope Scale scores of the female athletes
were examined in relation to a comparison group of nonathlete
women.
Method
Participants
Data were collected
on a
total sample
of
106 female NCAA Division
I outdoor track and field student athletes representing all eight Big Eight
Conference schools
in the
1993 season. Participation
in the
survey
was
based
on the
availability
to
complete
a
questionnaire
on the
assigned
day. Student athletes participating in field, sprint, distance, and decathlon
or heptathlon events were sampled.
The
student athletes
not
represented
in this survey mainly
had
class conflicts
on the day of the
survey,
or
were
not
informed
of
the survey
by the
head coach.
The
sample
of 106
represented approximately
70% of the Big
Eight Conference female
track student-athletes. Demographic breakdown
by
race indicated that
73%
were Caucasian, 25% African American,
and
less than
3%
were
Asian Americans, Hispanics,
and
Native Americans.
Measures
Dispositional Hope Scale.
The
Hope Scale
has
been described
in
the previous studies. Cronbach's alpha
in
Study
3 was .75.
Positive
and
negative affectivity.
To tap
affectivity, five words
re-
flecting positive affect (confident, inspired, energized, eager,
and
chal-
lenged),
and
five words reflecting negative affect (worried, fearful,
anxious, shaky,
and
threatened) were used.
The
instructions said
to
"Indicate
how you
feel generally,"
and
persons used
a
5-point Likert-
type scale
to
indicate applicability
of
the content words, from 1
(not at
all)
to 5 {a
great deal). These affect word associations have been used
by others (Folkman
&
Lazarus,
1985) and in
previous hope research
(see Snyder, Harris,
et al.,
1991).
The
five positive affect items
and the
five negative affect items have factored together appropriately
and
each
has displayed high internal consistency.
In
this study, Cronbach's alpha
for positive affectivity
was .78 and was
.81
for
negative affectivity.
The
10 affectivity items
are
analogous
to
those used
in the
Positive
and
Negative Affectivity Scale (Watson, Clark,
&
Tellegen, 1988).
Physical ability rating scale (PARS).
A
measure
of
individual
dif-
ferences
in
natural physical ability
was
developed expressly
for
Study
3.
Head coaches were asked
to
assess
the
athletic giftedness
of
their
student-athletes participating
in
this study.
All Big
Eight Conference
track and field head coaches agreed to participate. Specifically, directions
asked
the
coach
to
"'Answer each question about how physically gifted
your athlete
is.
Please
do not
attend
to
this athlete's psychological
makeup
or
work ethic,
but
focus upon your estimate
of
her pure natural
ability. Please take
a
moment
to
think about
.'' At
this point,
the coach
was
asked
to
rate
the
natural ability
of the
athlete
on a 10-
point scale
(1
the
least physically gifted athlete
I
have ever known,
10
=
the most physically gifted athlete
1
have ever known). This format
was repeated with
the
name
of
each school's student-athlete written
by
Lewis A. Curry
and
given
to the
respective school's head coach.
Season achievement measurement. NCAA Division
I
Women's Col-
lege Track and Field has
a
standard time (running event), distance (field
event),
or
point total (decathlon
or
heptathlon) that qualifies
an
athlete
surpassing that event mark
to
automatically qualify
for
the yearly NCAA
National Championship Outdoor Track
and
Field Meet. This national
qualifying mark (NQM)
is set
anew each year
by an
NCAA-sanctioned
track
and
field committee. Accordingly, from
the 17
individual event
championships
in the 1993
outdoor track
and
field season
of the Big
Eight Conference,
the
female athlete's best performance
was
used
to
produce
the
criterion variable. More specifically,
the
best achievement
was entered
as the
numerator,
and the
NQM
for
that event
was
entered
as
the
denominator, thereby providing
a
consistent
and
equal standard
of achievement across events (Raglin, 1992; Turner
&
Raglin, 1991).
As such,
the
achievement index could vary from under
1.0 for
those
athletes whose best achievements were below
the
NQM
to
over
1.0 for
those athletes whose best achievements exceeded
the
NQM.
3
Procedure
Two
to
three weeks into
the
outdoor track
and
field season,
and 8-
10 weeks prior
to the
National Championship Meet, appointments were
scheduled with each outdoor track
and
field team
in the Big
Eight
Conference. One
of
the authors traveled
to
each school
to
meet with
the
team, usually prior to a weekday practice. Following
a
brief introduction,
athletes signed
an
informed consent statement
and
completed
the
Hope
Scale
and
the affectivity measure.
A few
days after meeting with student
athletes
at a
given school,
the
PARS
was
partiallv filled
out by
Lewis
A. Curry with each participant's name. Subsequently,
via
mail, head
coaches received
an
informed consent statement soliciting their partici-
pation,
the
partially completed PARSs,
and
self-addressed, stamped
re-
turn envelopes. Head coaches were assured
as to the
confidentiality
of
3
All individual results from NCAA-sanctioned track
and
field meets
that involved
a
measurement
of
time were converted
to
seconds,
and
measurements
of
distances were converted
to
feet.
HOPE IN ACADEMIC AND SPORT ACHIEVEMENT
1263
their answers and were asked to sign, complete, and return the PARSs
along with one copy of the informed consent statements.
Season statistics were obtained from every school's sports information
department following the completion of the track and field season. The
Big Eight Conference Office also provided postseason statistics, as did
the NCAA Office of Championship Administration. Meet results and
season statistics provided by the Sports Information Departments wer