"False" hope

J Clin Psychol. 2002 Sep;58(9):1003-22. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10096.


"False" hope is condemned in the literature on the grounds that it reflects the counterproductive use of: (a) expectations based on illusions rather than reality, (b) inappropriate goals, and (c) poor strategies to reach desired goals. Snyder, Harris, et al.'s (1991) hope theory involving self-referential thoughts about finding routes to desired goals (pathways) and the motivation to use those routes (agency) is used as a framework for examining these three criticisms of false hope. It is concluded that the presently available evidence does not support any of the false-hope criticisms. The implications of hope-related issues for the applied clinical arena are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Goals*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Illusions*
  • Psychological Theory