Hopeful Future Expectations

Scale: Abbreviated version of the Hopeful Future Expectations (HFE) Scale

What it measures:

  • A youth’s hopefulness or positive expectations about his or her future.

Intended age range: 10- to 18-year-olds.

Brief description: This scale consists of 4 items from the original 13-item HFE measure. Youth respond to the prompt: “Think about how you see your future. What are your chances for the following?” The 4 items are: “having friends you can count on,” “being healthy,” “being involved in helping other people,” and “being safe.” Response options are Very low, Low, About 50/50, High, or Very high.

Rationale: This measure was selected because of its brevity, evidence of reliability and validity, and assessment of expectations related to specific situations later in life.

Cautions: The abbreviated 4-item version of the HFE scale has been examined only in a single published study. However, results from that study are consistent with evidence of reliability and validity for the original 13-item version.

Special administration information: None. How to score: Each item is scored from 1 (Very low) to 5 (Very high). The total score is the average of all 4 items.

How to interpret findings: Higher scores on the HFE items reflect higher personal expectations that positive future outcomes will occur in one’s life.

Access and permissions: Both the 4-item abbreviated and full 13-item versions of the measure are available for non-commercial use with no charge and can be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. The 4-item abbreviated is also available here.

Alternatives: Child Trends developed a measure of more general feelings of hope for youth from ages 12 to 17 years old. More information on this 3-item measure is available here.


Citation: Bowers, E. P., Geldhof, G. J., Schmid, K. L., Napolitano, C. M., Minor, K., & Lerner, J. V. (2012). Relationships with important nonparental adults and positive youth development: An examination of youth self-regulatory strengths as mediators. Research in Human Development, 9, 298–316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15427609.2012.729911

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