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Renaud, Jesse, Wrosch, Carsten and Scheier, Michael F (2018) Optimism. In: Bornstein, M. H., (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 1550-1552. ISBN 9781506307657

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Dispositional optimism is a personality construct that reflects individual differences in generalized expectations about future outcomes. Unlike their pessimistic counterparts, optimists tend to approach the world expecting positive, as opposed to negative, outcomes to occur in their future, across different life domains. This definition makes dispositional optimism different from other, related concepts that address outcome expectancies of specific, situational transactions and behaviors or infer optimism through an individual’s interpretation of negative life events.

Most research examines dispositional optimism by administering the “Life Orientation Test-Revised”, which assesses a person’s generalized optimistic and pessimistic outcome expectancies. Much of this work has treated dispositional optimism as a continuous, bipolar construct, ranging from high levels of pessimism to high levels of optimism. Other research, however, has examined optimistic and pessimistic outcome expectancies as separate, but related, constructs.

Overall, the literature on dispositional optimism suggests that optimists live happier and healthier lives than pessimists. This entry reviews literature on optimism and provides an overview of the psychological mechanisms that make dispositional optimism an adaptive personal resource. The entry focuses on two important life-span developmental questions: 1) are there age-related changes in the benefits of optimism, and 2) can individuals become more optimistic over time?

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Book Section
Authors:Renaud, Jesse and Wrosch, Carsten and Scheier, Michael F
Editors:Bornstein, M. H.
ID Code:981209
Deposited On:04 Jun 2018 14:10
Last Modified:04 Jun 2018 14:10
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