Children’s Hopelessness Scale

1. I want to grow up because I think things will be better.
2. I might as well give up because I can’t make things better for myself.
3. When things are going badly‚ I know that they won’t be bad all of the time.
4. I can imagine what my life will be like when I’m grown up.
5. I have enough time to finish the things I really want to do.
6. Someday‚ I will be good at doing the things that I really care about.
7. I will get more of the good things in life than most other kids.
8. I don’t have good luck and there’s no reason to think I will when I grow up.
9. All I can see ahead of me are bad things‚ not good things.
10. I don’t think I will get what I really want.
11. When I grow up‚ I think I will be happier than I am now.
12. Things just won’t work out the way I want them to.
13. I never get what I want‚ so it’s dumb to want anything.
14. I don’t think I will have any real fun when I grow up.
15. Tomorrow seems unclear and confusing to me.
16. I will have more good times than bad times.
17. There’s no use in really trying to get something I want because I probably won’t get it.
This assessment measures a child’s negative (hopeless) expectations for the future. Mentoring programs that focus a lot on goal setting and resiliency might find this instrument useful.
The Hoplessness Scale for Children was developed and administered to 66 8–13 yr old children along with the Children’s Depression Inventory‚ Bellevue Index of Depression‚ Depression Symptom Checklist‚ and the Self-Esteem Inventory. As predicted‚ Ss who scored high on the Hopelessness Scale showed significantly more severe depression and lower self-esteem than those who scored low on the scale. Ss who evinced suicidal attempt or ideation‚ independently assessed at intake diagnosis‚ showed greater hopelessness than Ss with no such intent. Suicidal intent was more consistently correlated with hopelessness than with depression‚ a finding parallel to results obtained with adults. Overall‚ findings suggest that negative expectations toward oneself and the future can be assessed in children and are related both to depression and suicidal intent. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA‚ all rights reserved)
This tool touches on the following keywords:
·         Personal Attitudes and Beliefs
·         Goals and Future
This instrument can be found on pages 111-112 of Measuring Violence-Related Attitudes‚ Behaviors‚ and Influences Among Youths: A Compendium of Assessment Tools‚ available online at:
Elementary and middle school age youth. Has been used in research with psychiatric inpatient children aged 8 to 13.
Pencil and paper self-report. Point values for most of the items in this scale are assigned as follows: Yes = 1; No = 0. Eight positively worded items are reverse coded: 1‚ 3‚ 5‚ 6‚ 7‚ 11 and 16. Responses are added to derive an overall score. A maximum score of 17 indicates high hopelessness. A minimum score of 0 indicates low hopelessness.

Kazdin‚ A.E.‚ French‚ N.H.‚ Unis‚ A.S.‚ Esveldt-Dawson‚ K.‚ & Sherick‚ R.B. (1983). Hopelessness‚ depression‚ and suicidal intent among psychiatrically disturbed inpatient children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology‚ 51(4):504-510.

Kazdin‚ Alan E.; French‚ Nancy H.; Unis‚ Alan S.; Esveldt-Dawson‚ Karen; Sherick‚ Rosanna B. Hopelessness‚ depression‚ and suicidal intent among psychiatrically disturbed inpatient children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology‚ Vol 51(4)‚ Aug 1983‚ 504-510