Does hope matter? The influence of dispositional hope on persistence in a developmental writing course

Stephen Sean Madison, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to determine hope’s unique role, if any, in predicting persistence in a developmental writing course. Perceived academic self-efficacy was also included as a variable of interest for comparison because self-efficacy has been more widely studied than hope in terms of its non-cognitive role in predicting academic outcomes. A significant body of research indicates that self-efficacy influences academic motivation to persist and academic performance. Hope, however, is an emerging psychological construct in the study of non-cognitive factors that influence college outcomes and warrants further exploration in higher education. This study examined the predictive value of hope and self-efficacy on persistence in a developmental writing course. The research sample was obtained from a community college in the southeastern United States. Participants were 238 students enrolled in developmental writing courses during their first year of college. Participants were given a questionnaire that included measures for perceived academic self-efficacy and hope. The self-efficacy scale asked participants to self-report on their beliefs about how they cope with different academic tasks in order to be successful. The hope scale asked students to self-report on their beliefs about their capability to initiate action towards a goal (“agency”) and create a plan to attain these goals (“pathways”). This study utilized a correlational research design. A statistical association was estimated between hope and self-efficacy as well as the unique variance contributed by each on course persistence. Correlational analysis confirmed a significant relationship between hope and perceived academic self-efficacy, and a Fisher’s z-transformation confirmed a stronger relationship between the agency component of hope and perceived academic self-efficacy than for the pathways component. A series of multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess if (a) perceived self-efficacy and hope predict course persistence, (b) hope independent of self-efficacy predicts course persistence, and (c) if including the interaction of perceived self-efficacy and hope predicts course persistence. It was found that hope was only significant independent of self-efficacy. Some implications for future research are drawn for those who lead and coordinate academic support initiatives in student and academic affairs.

Subject Area

Community college education|Language arts|Educational psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Madison, Stephen Sean, "Does hope matter? The influence of dispositional hope on persistence in a developmental writing course" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3394843.