The Buffering Effect of Hope on Clinicians' Behavior: A Test in Pediatric Primary Care
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Although trait hope is thought to motivate goal directed actions in the face of impediments, few studies have examined directly hope's role in overcoming obstacles, and none have done so while accounting for related goal constructs. We describe a study of 127 pediatric primary care providers who over the course of a year were asked to identify new cases of asthma and confirm previously diagnosed active disease by completing for each of their patients a brief survey validated for this purpose. These clinicians also completed measures of hope, self-efficacy, conscientiousness, and perceived obstacles to implementing a pediatric asthma management program. As predicted by hope theory, the agency component of hope buffered clinicians from perceived obstacles by facilitating the identification of asthma cases among high hope clinicians in the face of obstacles. This buffering effect remained after controlling for self-efficacy and conscientiousness. We discuss the study findings in terms of current theories of goal directed behavior and implications for delivering hope-related interventions, and we offer a testable hypothesis regarding when agency and pathways thinking facilitate goal-related behavior.
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