Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Optimism

  • Astrid Schütz
  • Marina Schall
  • Selda Koydemir
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_706-1

Synonyms

Definition and Conceptualization

Optimism describes a positive orientation toward the future. Optimists are people who have the habitual tendency to expect positive future outcomes even when difficulties arise (Scheier and Carver 1992).

Introduction

Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun,

one’s feet moving forward.

Nelson Mandela

Although the roots of a positive mindset and its consequences have been a topic of philosophical discussion for centuries, the empirical study of optimism began with Scheier and Carver’s (1985) seminal work on outcome expectancies. Optimism has been understood as “the extent to which people hold generalized favorable expectancies for their future” (Carver et al. 2010, p. 879). A host of studies have demonstrated that optimism is associated with...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BambergBambergGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA