STUDY: Hope Can Save People From Making Bad Choices

A new study has confirmed the idea that hope may help prevent you from doing things that are bad for you.

The researchers at the University of East Anglia, in the U.K., wanted to find out why some people are more likely to fall into gambling, alcohol, drugs, and overeating.

They focused on something called relative deprivation, which is when a person feels that other people have things better in life.

The research team carried out two lab-based experiments with 55 volunteers. The volunteers were quizzed to find out how much they feel relative deprivation and hope.

Postgraduate researcher Shahriar Keshavarz, from UEA’s School of Psychology, said: “I think most people have experienced relative deprivation at some point in their lives. It’s that feeling of being unhappy with your lot, the belief that your situation is worse than others, that other people are doing better than you.” He continued; “Relative deprivation can trigger negative emotions like anger and resentment, and it has been associated with poor coping strategies like risk taking, drinking, taking drugs or gambling. But not everyone scoring high on measures of relative deprivation makes these poor life choices. We wanted to find out why some people seem to cope better, or even use the experience to their advantage to improve their own situation.”

In one particular part of the study they found that higher levels of hope, were associated with a low risk of gambling problems, even in those with relative deprivation.

That experiment looked at whether hope helped people in the real world. They worked with 122 volunteers who had gambled at least once in the last year. The volunteers took part in questionnaires to gauge how hopeful they are, whether they feel relatively deprived and to measure problem gambling.

Of the participants, 33 had no gambling problems (27 per cent), 32 had low level of problems (26 per cent), 46 had moderate level of problems leading to some negative consequences (38 per cent) and 11 were problem gamblers with a possible loss of control (9 per cent).

This study gives a real insight into how to actually curb issues like addiction and depression. And the answer is Hope. Read the University release on the study here.


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