Optimism and pessimism for the future have been widely studied, but little is known about distinctions among types of optimism. In the present work optimism for the personal future and optimism for a more global world’s future were shown to be related yet distinct variables among responses from 156 undergraduate students. Furthermore, World Optimism predicted lower levels of pro-environmental attitudes (the New Ecological Paradigm) whereas Personal Optimism did not after its shared variance with World Optimism was removed. Personal Optimism (but not World Optimism) was associated with Consideration of Future Consequences, a measure of locus of control, and other measures of optimism and pessimism. Discussion addresses this distinction and its implications for understanding environmental attitudes and other individual differences.
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McElwee, R.O., Brittain, L. Optimism for the World’s Future versus the Personal Future: Application to Environmental Attitudes. Curr Psychol 28, 133–145 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-009-9051-4