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The term hopelessness refers to a pessimistic view of one’s own future. It is a cognitive and emotional state based on the belief that one’s life circumstances are poor and will not improve. According to the hopelessness theory of depression, hopelessness has two components. First, it involves an expectation that either aversive outcomes will occur or highly desired outcomes will not occur. Second, this negative expectation is coupled with an expectation that no action or response will change the likelihood that these outcomes will occur. Thus, hopelessness involves both negative outcome expectancy and helplessness expectancy. This entry further examines hopelessness theory, describes the factors involved in the development of hopelessness, and discusses the role of hopelessness in depression and suicide.

Hopelessness Theory of Depression

In clinical ...

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