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A Critical Appraisal and Extension of Hope Theory In Middle-Aged Men and Women: is it Important to Distinguish Agency and Pathways Components?

In an effort to provide greater clarification and an extension of Snyder's (1994, 2000a, 2002) hope theory, this study examined agentic and pathways thinking (the cognitive set of hope) and their relations with problem solving and psychological adjustment (depressive symptoms and life satisfaction) in a sample of 141 middle-aged men and 206 middle-age women. Results indicated significant sex differences on pathways thinking, problem solving, and depressive symptoms. Sex differences were also found in the nomological net of associations involving agentic and pathways thinking with problem solving. Furthermore, results of conducting separate path analyses for middle-aged men and women testing for a mediation model indicated that agentic thinking had a strong direct and indirect link (via problem solving) with psychological adjustment. However, for women, but not for men, a link between pathways thinking and psychological adjustment was found to be fully mediated by problem solving. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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