Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 25–43 | Cite as

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

  • Terence E. Fitzgerald
  • Howard Tennen
  • Glenn Affleck
  • Glenn S. Pransky


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 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terence E. Fitzgerald
    • 1
  • Howard Tennen
    • 2
  • Glenn Affleck
    • 2
  • Glenn S. Pransky
    • 3
  1. 1.St. Joseph's Pain Therapy CenterAshville
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmington
  3. 3.University of Massachusetts Medical CenterBoston

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