The cerebral neurobiology of hope and hopelessness

Psychiatry. 1993 Aug;56(3):270-81. doi: 10.1080/00332747.1993.11024645.


Hope and hopelessness are useful constructs that have been employed by clinicians in theory making regarding the pathogenesis and course of disease and in the application of various psychological and medical treatments to illness. French (1952) and Frank (1968) viewed hope as a necessary motivating force in influencing an individual to try to overcome inner psychological conflicts and seek to resolve a psychoneurosis. Melges and Bowlby (1969) classified the types of hopelessness in psychopathological processes. Perley et al. (1971), using an objective method for content analysis of small samples of speech (Gottschalk 1974), found that elevated hope scores predicted continuation of psychiatric treatment rather than dropping out. Gottschalk et al. (1967, 1969) found that hope scores derived from verbal samples predicted the duration of survival of patients with terminal cancer receiving irradiation treatment (1969) and predicted relatively favorable outcome in psychotherapy (1967).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emotions*
  • Eye Movements
  • Functional Laterality
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Wakefulness


  • Glucose