Objective: The aims of this study were to describe hope in a
large sample that was drawn from the general Norwegian population and
to examine how sociodemographic and health-related variables were
related to hope.
Methods: Of 4,000 adult citizens, randomly drawn from the
National Register, 1,912 (49%) returned the Norwegian version of the
Herth Hope Index (HHI).
Results: When demographic and health-related variables were
controlled for, age, gender, marital status, and employment status were
significantly related to hope. The most important health-related
variable was self-assessed health status, with participants who were
satisfied with their health reporting significantly higher levels of
hope. Participants who indicated that they had a chronic disease
reported significantly higher hope scores compared to those without a
chronic disease. Older men, individuals who were receiving a pension or
were unemployed, and individuals who were widowed or unmarried reported
the lowest levels of hope. In this study, an individual's
subjective evaluation of his/her health was the most important
health-related predictor of hope.
Significance of the research: The most important
health-related variable that predicted hope was self-assessed health in
that participants who were satisfied with their health reported higher
levels of hope. This finding suggests that an individual's
subjective assessment of health is a better predictor of hope than the
presence a chronic disease. Knowledge about levels of hope in the
general population can be used as reference values against which an
individual score or a group mean may be compared.