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When Less is More: A Short Version of the Personal Optimism Scale and the Self-Efficacy Optimism Scale

Abstract

The past few years have seen increased theoretical and applied research on the relations between constructs related to positive expectations. However, instruments capable of distinguishing positive expectancy constructs are still lacking. This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the 18-item Personal Optimism Scale and Self-Efficacy Optimism Scale. Two student samples from the University of Novi Sad in Serbia were recruited for the present research, with a total of 728 participants. The results of the exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses did not support the theoretically expected structure. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis and content validity support shortening the scale to 9 items. The short versions of the scales demonstrated adequate reliability in internal consistency and adequate concurrent and convergent validity by significant correlations with dispositional optimism, general self-efficacy, hope, resilience and subjective well-being. The analyses lead us to conclude that a shorter 4-item Personal Optimism Scale and a 5-item Self-Efficacy Optimism Scale provide a clear, precise measures of two types of positive expectations. The authors argue that the limitations of the original scales emanate from their vague theoretical-substantive validity, and call for future research to replicate these findings.

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Notes

  1. The Social Optimism Scale was not taken into consideration at this moment for two reasons: (1) we were interested in two types of optimism which are specified at a personal level; (2) the Social Optimism Scale consists of many items that are highly specific for Western culture and that might be inappropriate for Serbian culture.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia (Grant No. 179006).

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Correspondence to Veljko Jovanović.

Appendix: The 9-item Version of the Personal Optimism and Self-Efficacy Optimism Scales

Appendix: The 9-item Version of the Personal Optimism and Self-Efficacy Optimism Scales

  1. 1.

    For each problem I will find a solution.

  2. 2.

    In difficult situations I will find a way.

  3. 3.

    I master difficult problems.

  4. 4.

    I am facing my future in an optimistic way.

  5. 5.

    I can hardly think of something positive in the future.

  6. 6.

    I can master difficulties.

  7. 7.

    I worry about my future.

  8. 8.

    I always find a solution to a problem.

  9. 9.

    It often seems to me that everything is gloomy.

    • Items 4, 5, 7, and 9 reflect personal optimism.

    • Items 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8 reflect self-efficacy optimism.

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Gavrilov-Jerković, V., Jovanović, V., Žuljević, D. et al. When Less is More: A Short Version of the Personal Optimism Scale and the Self-Efficacy Optimism Scale. J Happiness Stud 15, 455–474 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-013-9432-0

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Keywords

  • POSO-E
  • Positive expectancies
  • Personal optimism
  • Self-efficacy optimism
  • Reliability
  • Validity