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This study prospectively examined the effect of hopelessness on outcome in cognitive therapy. Hopelessness has a central role in cognitive theories of depression, and consistently predicts suicide attempts and suicide completion. Furthermore, there is indirect evidence that hopelessness predicts cognitive therapy outcome, in terms of early termination of therapy, perhaps in part because theories of therapy change suggest that "remoralization" is a critical first phase of change. It was hypothesized that hopelessness non-responsiveness early in therapy would be predictive of eventual outcome, over and above hopelessness severity at intake. In a naturalistic study of 122 patients diagnosed with unipolar depression, it was found that non-responsive hopelessness predicted outcome in cognitive therapy, and this effect is over and above any effect of initial severity of hopelessness or depression. These findings suggest that patients whose level of hope is responsive to early interventions make more rapid and pronounced improvements during "real world" cognitive therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





631 - 646


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Cognitive Therapy, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Psychological Tests, Treatment Outcome