When Aspirations Exceed Expectations: Quixotic Hope Increases Depression among Students

Greenaway, Katharine H., Frye, Margaret and Cruwys, Tegan (2015) When Aspirations Exceed Expectations: Quixotic Hope Increases Depression among Students. PLoS One, 10 9: e0135477-e0135477. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135477

Author Greenaway, Katharine H.
Frye, Margaret
Cruwys, Tegan
Title When Aspirations Exceed Expectations: Quixotic Hope Increases Depression among Students
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0135477
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 9
Start page e0135477
End page e0135477
Total pages 17
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A paradox exists in modern schooling: students are simultaneously more positive about the future and more depressed than ever. We suggest that these two phenomena may be linked. Two studies demonstrated that students are more likely to be depressed when educational aspirations exceed expectations. In Study 1 (N = 85) aspiring to a thesis grade higher than one expected predicted greater depression at the beginning and end of the academic year. In Study 2 (N = 2820) aspiring to a level of education (e.g., attending college) higher than one expected to achieve predicted greater depression cross-sectionally and five years later. In both cases the negative effects of aspiring high while expecting low persisted even after controlling for whether or not students achieved their educational aspirations. These findings highlight the danger of teaching students to aspire higher without also investing time and money to ensure that students can reasonably expect to achieve their educational goals.
Keyword High Self esteem
Educational Aspirations
Lost Talent
Dark Side
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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