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Keywords:

  • Gadamer;
  • hope;
  • hope facilitation;
  • phenomenology;
  • photography;
  • youth

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to report the findings of a phenomenological study that explored hope in 10 young people in Australia.

Background.  Evidence suggests many Australian young people are in crisis. Examination of key reports that detail the incidence of suicide, early drug-taking behaviours, homelessness, self-harm behaviours, joblessness, depressive disorders, crime statistics and alcohol abuse suggest that many of today's young people have lost resilience as well as vital connections to their community.

Method.  Two methods were employed to encourage the participants to reflect on their experiences of hope – what it is and what it meant to them. The first was to supply participants with a disposable colour film camera and ask them to take pictures that, in their view, showed hope. The second was participation in an in-depth interview that was prompted in part, by their photographs. Interview audiotapes were transcribed verbatim and analysis of the text used the Turner method. The data were collected in 2002.

Findings.  Four horizons of hope were revealed: at-one-with; a driving force; having choices; and connecting and being connected. These horizons are discussed, showing how, or if, the literature treats these dimensions of hope. Perspectives are offered on how they might be considered by nurses who are charged with caring for today's young people.

Conclusion.  Registered Nurses who work with young people must understand the phenomenon of hope from their unique perspective before they can offer appropriate hope-facilitating strategies.