Is optimism healthy and pessimism unhealthy? About the unique predictive value of the Life Orientation Test towards stress-related complaints.

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Abstract

This study sought to establish whether optimism and pessimism can be distinguished from overlapping constructs (hope, self-esteem, self-efficacy and neuroticism) in the prediction of stress-related psychological complaints, as measured with the SCL-90. We regressed the SCL-90 subscales somatisation, depression and anxiety and the General Sensitivity Index of the SCL-90 on the optimism and pessimism subscale of the Life Orientation Test (LOT), as well as on several other instruments. The pessimism subscale of the LOT, but not the optimism subscale, proved to be a more robust predictor of stress-related complaints than hope, self efficacy and self-esteem. Moreover, pessimism had additional predictive value for stress-related complaints over and above the effects of neuroticism. This study emphasizes the unique predictive value of generalized outcome expectancies and discusses the differential predictive value of optimism and pessimism.
Translated title of the contributionIs optimism healthy and pessimism unhealthy? About the unique predictive value of the Life Orientation Test towards stress-related complaints.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)298-307
JournalPsychologie & Gezondheid
Volume37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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