Hope as a behavior and cognitive process: A new clinical strategy about mental health's prevention

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Abstract

Introduction:

Given the aging population, it is necessary to develop strategies for the prevention and promotion of mental health in the elderly. Hope as the ability to trace and maintain paths can be used as a key construct for these strategies, promoting cognitive health if stimulated.

Objective:

Evaluate the behavior and cognitive development of elderly people through hope training as a clinical strategy for health promotion.

Methods:

A clinical experiment with a comparative and cross-sectional design. There were 2 data collection phases over a 6-month period. The sample comprised 51 participants, divided into groups having received either more or less than 6 months of stimulation. The instruments used were the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and Expectations/Hope Scale About the Future and Life's Guidance. The Wilcoxon signed-ranks test (t test) was used to analyze the data.

Results:

Hope in addition to cognitive stimulation shows more significant results in elderly people at initial stimulation (0.18), mainly at the permanence and troubleshooting on the paths concerned; this corresponds with the results obtained for hope (0.18). Depressive symptomatology showed significant differences among the 2 groups (0.39 and 0.02). In the between-groups comparisons, only GDS showed significance (0.46).

Results:

Hope training has an impact on the remission of depressive symptoms and, despite increased hope levels, training was effective for the reduction of depression symptoms for up to 6 months, thereafter only playing a maintenance role. Broadly, hope has been shown to promote elderly people's mental health.

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