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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how hope affects goal-directed behavior. In contrast to expectancy-based hope theories, hope is defined as positive fantasies about the future despite having low expectations of reaching the desired future. Depending on whether people indulge in these positive fantasies or mentally contrast them with the present reality, and depending on the situational contexts, such positive fantasies can serve different functions. In situations in which action alternatives are possible, positive fantasies complemented with obstacles of the present reality allow people to selectively pursue desired futures. People invest their limited resources in feasible futures. However, in situations in which action alternatives are not possible and people can neither reach their desired future nor disengage from it, indulging in positive fantasies without contrasting them with the reality can help people to endure the difficult situations. The chapter also considers affective aspects of hope and discusses directions for future research.

Keywords: hope, positive fantasies, expectations, mental contrasting, goal-directed behavior

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