THE HERO CONCEPT: SELF, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS WHO ARE BRAVE, HONEST, AND HOPEFUL1

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Abstract

The concept of the hero is pervasive and enduring, extending across time, culture, and age. Although an influential schema, the hero has not been empirically examined in depth. Heroic exemplars given by students and community members were examined, and the hypotheses that individuals with high Heroism scores are more hopeful and report higher Coping than individuals with low Heroism scores were also tested. Participants reported similar depictions of heroes and heroic acts; the prototypic hero being a family member, and the most common act exemplified as averting physical harm to others. Quantitative results suggest that individuals high on Heroism scores are more hopeful and cope better than individuals low on Heroism scores. Results indicate that heroism is experienced in everyday life, and a model is proposed.

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