Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 25-43

First online:

The relative importance of dispositional optimism and control appraisals in quality of life after coronary artery bypass surgery

  • Terence E. FitzgeraldAffiliated withSt. Joseph's Pain Therapy Center
  • , Howard TennenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • , Glenn AffleckAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • , Glenn S. PranskyAffiliated withUniversity of Massachusetts Medical Center

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Similar mechanisms have been proposed to explain the stress-buffering effects of both dispositional optimism and perceived control. Yet dispositional optimism as a personal resource should function independently of situational control appraisals. To evaluate the unique and additive contributions to adaptation of control appraisals and optimism, we followed 49 individuals scheduled for coronary artery bypass surgery. One month before surgery dispositional optimism was associated with neither health locus of control nor specific expectancies about the outcomes of surgery. Dispositional optimism, however, was associated with perceived control over the course of the illness and with quality of life appraisals. Although presurgery optimism predicted life quality 8 months after surgery, this was not the case when general and specific control appraisals and specific expectancies were included in the prediction. These findings are discussed as they relate to current conceptions of trait optimism.

Key words

adaptation coronary bypass surgery optimism control quality of life