Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Norman A. Scott


Consistent with research approaches in positive psychology, the variables of optimism and hope were investigated to determine what role these constructs had in the retention and academic success of college students. A sample of 282 students (172 women, 111 men) from a large midwestern university, supplemented by 82 collateral reporters (friends or relatives of the students), participated in the study. Each participant completed a questionnaire including Scheier and Carvers' Life Orientation Test (LOT); Peterson, Semrnel, von Baeyer, Abramson, Metalsky, and Seligmans' Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ), and C. R. Snyder's Adult Trait Hope Scale (HOPE) along with measures of depression, anxiety, commitment to college, and academic motivation. Participants gave consent for the release of their college grade point average, ACT composite score, and high school class rank from the registrar's office. In addition, the collateral reporters were asked to complete the LOT, ASQ, and HOPE according to their knowledge of the participants.;Analyses including linear and logistic regression and Pearson correlations provided evidence for a significant relationship between hope and grade point average, but not optimism. Additionally, no significant relationships were found between optimism, hope, and continued enrollment from the fall to spring semester. Data from the collateral reporters demonstrated a similar pattern with hope significantly related to grade point average as indicated by correlation and regression analyses. The need for further clarification of the relationship between hope, academic success, and retention was discussed along with the limitations of the current study and suggestions for additional research.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Patrick John Barlow



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

82 pages