Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Christopher J. Trentacosta


Hope has been shown to be an important protective factor, with hypothesized origins in early childhood (Snyder, 2002). However, despite the established importance of hope, little research to date has examined its developmental origins. Specifically, a lack of appropriate instrumentation represents a significant barrier to detecting hope in children under the age of eight years old. The current study meets this need by examining the reliability and validity of a novel parent-report measure of hope in early childhood, titled the Parent Report of Child Hope (PRCH). The PRCH represents an initial step towards understanding individual differences in early childhood hope. The present study also sought to provide an understanding of the developmental influences on hope in early childhood using the PRCH.

The PRCH was hypothesized to be a reliable and valid measure of hope in children younger than 8 years old. Specific Aims of the current study included, Aim 1: To provide evidence of the construct validity of the PRCH as an assessment of hope in young children, Aim 2: To provide evidence of the reliability and criterion-related validity of the Parent PRCH as an assessment of hope in young children, and Aim 3: To understand whether factors hypothesized to either contribute to or undermine hope development are predictors of hope, as well as agency and pathways thinking individually, in young children in order to provide a foundational understanding of hope development.

Participants included 263 caregivers of children between the ages of 60 and 82 months. Parents completed online surveys containing the PRCH, an adapted, parent-report version of the Children’s Hope Scale, and measures assessing child behaviors, social understanding, school readiness, and ego resilience. Parents also reported on the quality of their relationship with their child, their own level of depression, and the impact that COVID-19 has had on their family structure. The overall findings of the present study support the PRCH as a reliable and valid measure of hope in early childhood. The PRCH sufficiently captured individual differences in hope among young children and followed the expected two factor structure, confirming construct validity. The PRCH demonstrated good internal consistency and criterion-related validity. Child social understanding, parent-child closeness, and school readiness positively predicted PRCH scores. Parent-child conflict negatively predicted PRCH scores. Scores on the PRCH predicted ego resilience and prosocial behaviors in children. These findings are consistent with hope theory, which suggested that the developmental origins of hope could be measured in early childhood (Snyder, 2000).

Included in

Psychology Commons