RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Hope works Dr. Shane Lopez’s research shows hope can be cultivated and used to considerable advantage in our lives. But don’t confuse hope with wishfulness, he advises in this interview with the college’s Dr. Lisa Edwards.
When associate professor of counseling Dr. Lisa Edwards was a graduate student at the University of Kansas, Dr. Shane Lopez was her faculty adviser. An early adherent of the positive psychology movement in a field traditionally more focused on dissecting pathologies and negative influences, Lopez helped inspire research interests that continue to define Edwards’ career at Marquette, such as factors promoting resilience in youth from challenging urban, multicultural settings. Now known as “America’s foremost researcher on hope,” Lopez took time out for a conversation with his longtime colleague when he visited campus in November to deliver the college’s Tommy G. Thompson lecture. These excerpts from their discussion reveal how a concept as deceptively commonplace as hope has a promising role to play in helping those who are struggling psychologically and in promoting positive outcomes for those at risk for academic setbacks, depression and other life struggles because of poverty, abuse or multicultural stressors. In contrast to wish-based forms of pop psychology, hope’s effectiveness has been proven empirically, says Lopez, but hard work and persistence are required to unlock its value.