Characterizing Hope: An Interdisciplinary Overview of the Characteristics of Hope

Emma Pleeging*, Job van Exel, Martijn Burger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
346 Downloads (Pure)


What we hope for has a large impact on how we feel and behave. Research on the determinants and effects of a hopeful disposition is increasing in several academic fields, such as psychology, nursing and organizational studies. However, how hope is defined differs significantly between disciplines, leading to fragmentation in the insights that we can draw from this research. This systematic review aims to provide an extensive overview of the ascribed characteristics of the concept of hope in ten different academic fields. Using phenomenographic research methods, these characterizations are collected and categorized to offer a comprehensive conceptual framework of hope. The resulting framework comprises 7 themes and 41 sub-themes. We show how this framework can be used to obtain a fuller understanding of the concept of hope and of possible blind spots within specific research fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1723
Number of pages43
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Martijn Burger and Emma Pleeging received financial support from the Goldschmeding Foundation for People, Work and Economy (project ‘Hope as an Incentive’). Job van Exel declares that he has no conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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