Date of Award

5-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

Karen M. Sowers

Committee Members

William Nugent, Cynthia J. Rocha, Tricia McClam

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability of the Trait Hope Scale when used with a sample of socials service providers. Scale scores were collected from 104 social service providers in the southeastern region of the United States. Data was collected using self report surveys from a population of case managers in the social service field. Univariate analyses were conducted to determine the make up of the sample which was primarily white females having a graduate degree. Additionally, Bivariate analyses were used to compare the mean scores of the agency, pathway and hope scale between genders and races with no significant differences found.

Analyses were conducted to determine if the subscales (agency and pathway) of the Trait Hope Scale are measured in this population as they have been with other populations. When the constructs were analyzed separately there were no significant findings and it was determined that the model was not a good fit. However, when analyses were conducted with the constructs being correlated, the model presented as being a good fit. Finally, the model was analyzed with only the females being included. Similar results were found providing some evidence that the scale measures agency and pathway the same for men and women. The indicators were found to load on the appropriate construct in each of the models and the constructs were shown to only fit significantly when correlated rather than independently.

There is much to be learned about hope in the social service field. This study has been a preliminary step in determining if the Trait Hope Scale measures hope in social service providers the same way that it has been in other studies. There is a need to evaluate the possible model fit differences between genders and race. There is also a need to consider the impact of demographic characteristics such as income, age, experience, education and geographic location on a person's level of hope. Further research is needed to better define hope in social work and consider the possible impacts of a person's hope on her/his potential level of burnout and turnover.

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