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Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: Theoretical overview and empirical update

Abstract

The primary purpose of this paper is to review recent research examining the beneficial effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being. The review focuses on research that is longitudinal or prospective in design. Potential mechanisms are also identified whereby the beneficial effects of optimism are produced, focusing in particular on how optimism may lead a person to cope more adaptively with stress. The paper closes with a brief consideration of the similarities and differences between our own theoretical approach and several related approaches that have been taken by others.

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Correspondence to Michael F. Scheier.

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Preparation of this article was facilitated by NSF grants BNS-9010425 and BNS 90-11653, by NIH grant 1R01HL4432-01A1, and by American Cancer Society grant PBR-61173. Michael Scheier would like to dedicate this article to the fighting spirit and optimism of his mother, Mary Scheier, who was lying critically injured in the hospital during the time in which it was being written.

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Scheier, M.F., Carver, C.S. Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: Theoretical overview and empirical update. Cogn Ther Res 16, 201–228 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173489

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Key words

  • optimism
  • stress
  • coping
  • health
  • adjustment
  • personality