Assessment of hopelessness in suicidal patients

Lawrence M. Glanz, Gretchen L. Haas, John A. Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Beck (1963) proposed that hopelessness is a common feature of depression and an important element in its etiology. The development of the Hopelessness Scale (Beck, Weissman, Lester, & Trexler, 1974) sparked substantial research into the phenomenon of hopelessness, as well as some controversy. Current interest in the construct and its measurement centers around its potential value in assessing risk for suicidal behavior, since several studies have demonstrated that many suicidal individuals have cognitive and emotional attributes of hopelessness. This paper explores developments in the assessment of hopelessness, and reviews the relevant research supporting its utility in the assessment of suicide risk. Empirical findings and controversies are summarized. Recommendations are made for instrument development, along with further study of state/trait characteristics of hopelessness and the utility of hopelessness as a predictor of suicidal behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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