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The Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) is a 20-item self-report inventory developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck that was designed to measure three major aspects of hopelessness; feelings about the future, loss of motivation, and expectations. [1] The test is designed for adults, age 17-80.The cut-offs used are 0–3 = normal; 4–8 = mild; 9–14 = moderate and 14 + = severe.


The BHS moderately correlates with the Beck Depression Inventory, although research shows that the BDI is better suited for predicting suicidal ideation behavior.[2] The internal reliability coefficients are reasonably high (Pearson r= .82 to .93 in seven norm groups), but the BHS test-retest reliability coefficients are modest (.69 after one week and .66 after six weeks).[1]

Dowd [3] and Owen[4]both positively reviewed the effectiveness of the instrument, with Dowd concluding that the BHS was "a well-constructed and validated instrument, with adequate reliability." [3]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Beck A.T. (1988). "Beck Hopelessness Scale." The Psychological Corporation.
  2. Aiken, L.R. (2002) "Psychological Testing and Assessment." New York: Allyn & Bacon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dowd, E.T. (1992). "Review of the Beck Hopelessness Scale." Eleventh Mental Measurement Yearbook, 81-82
  4. Owen, S.V. (1992) "Review of the Beck Hopelessness Scale." Eleventh Mental Measurement Yearbook, 82-83
  • Beck, A. T., Weissman, A., Lester, D., and Trexler, L. The measurement of pessimism: The Hopelessness Scale. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1974, 42, 861-865.
  • Beck A, Weissman A, Lester D, et al. Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS). In: American Psychiatric Association, eds. Handbook of psychiatric measures. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000:268–270.
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