Self-Appraisal of Social Problem-Solving As a Predictor of Hopelessness In a Nursing School Population

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jack L. Daniels

Advisor Department



This study investigated the effectiveness of video taped didactic instruction in social problem solving skills in reducing the self-perception of hopelessness in a group of college nursing students. Research questions were: (1) Does standardized instruction in problem solving skills significantly contribute to a reduction of a person's self-appraisal of hopelessness? (2) Does an individual's self-appraisal of his/her problem solving ability have an inverse relationship with his/her self-appraisal of hopelessness? Subjects were thirty-seven nursing students who were recruited as volunteers by a verbal request in the classroom setting. An experimental design utilizing random assignment of all subjects to either an experimental group or a waiting-list control group was employed. All subjects were pretested and posttested during a three-week period using the Problem Solving Inventory and the Beck Hopelessness Scale. The experimental condition provided videotaped social problem solving training (SPST). The waiting-list control group carried on routine lifestyle activities. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) for Research Hypotheses One and Two, and the Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient (Pearson r) for Hypothesis Three. The alpha level criterion for statistical significance was set at.05. Subjects (n = 19) in the treatment group demonstrated higher self-appraisal of problem solving ability, at posttest, than did subjects in the control group. Subjects (n = 19) in the treatment group demonstrated lower self-appraisal of hopelessness, or pessimism, at posttest, than did subjects in the control group. Subjects (n = 19) in the treatment group did not demonstrate a statistically significant positive correlation between their Problem Solving Inventory scores and their Beck Hopelessness Scale scores. The results of this study are consistent with the literature in this area of research that cite a significant relationship between self-appraisal of problem solving ability and hopelessness.