Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Stephen Yoshimura

Commitee Members

Heather Voorhees, David Schuldberg


hope, functional support, distress, social support, unemployment


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Interpersonal and Small Group Communication


Hope is an adaptive mindset that enables one to work toward their goals and thwart obstacles they encounter in doing so. However, the stress associated with some situations, such as unemployment, can block hopeful thinking, causing one to become stuck in unmotivated and inflexible thinking patterns and therefore potentially trapped in the distressing situation. Through an online survey, this study explored whether functional support would predict reportedly low hope states in unemployed individuals (N = 235). More specifically, we predicted that functional support would encourage reappraisal of (and thus buffer against) distressing unemployment-related emotions, with that reappraisal altering the cognitive process that produces hope in favor of increased hopefulness. Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed support for the claims that functional support is positively related to state hope and negatively related to unemployment distress, as well as that state hope was negatively related to unemployment distress. Further analyses demonstrated that esteem support in particular is crucial to hope-inducing perceptions of support, though belonging and appraisal support also affected hope. However, the results did not indicate that reappraisal was the mechanism by which support was associated with hope. Moreover, insignificant moderation analyses suggested that support was related to hope through a direct, not buffering, effect. Implications and future directions are discussed as well, with the results of this study contributing both practical and theoretical knowledge to the fields of hope, social support, and unemployment.



© Copyright 2021 Rylee P. Walter