European Journal of Ageing

, 6:247 | Cite as

Age differences in dispositional optimism: a cross-cultural study

  • Jin You
  • Helene H. L. FungEmail author
  • Derek M. Isaacowitz
Original Investigation


Testing the hypothesis that individuals develop their personal characteristics according to what their cultures emphasize, this cross-sectional study aimed at investigating how dispositional optimism varied with age among Americans and Hong Kong Chinese. The sample included 84 younger adults and 55 older adults that were equally distributed across the two cultures. Results revealed that older Americans displayed a higher level of dispositional optimism than did younger Americans; whereas older Chinese showed a lower level of dispositional optimism than did their younger counterparts. Findings shed light on the mixed findings on age-related dispositional optimism in the literature.


Ageing processes Cultural context Dispositional optimism 



This research was supported by a Direct Grant for Research from Chinese University of Hong Kong, and an Earmarked Research Grant, CUHK4652/05H, from Research Grants Council, Hong Kong. We thank Alice Y. Lu for collecting data and conducting the initial data analysis for the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin You
    • 1
  • Helene H. L. Fung
    • 2
    Email author
  • Derek M. Isaacowitz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Chung Chi CollegeChinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong, China
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Chung Chi CollegeChinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong, China
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityBostonUSA

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