Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Optimism, Pessimism, and Health

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_973



Optimism is a dispositional variable characterized by a generalized positive expectation about the future, while pessimism reflects a generalized negative expectation about the future. Although optimism and pessimism were originally viewed as occupying opposite ends of a single dimension, they have also been considered as independent variables. However, the dimensionality of these two constructs continues to be an ongoing debate in the literature. Each has been associated with different outcomes. Optimism has been associated with better psychological and physiological health outcomes, and these relationships are thought to be mediated by a coping style characterized by problem and emotion approach coping strategies. In contrast, pessimism has been associated with poorer psychological and physiological health outcomes, which is believed to be mediated by the reliance upon problem and emotion avoidance coping...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at DallasDallasUSA