Optimism, perceived control over stress, and coping



To examine the ability of the expectancy-based personality dimensions dispositional optimism and perceived control over stress to predict the ways in which people characteristically attempt to cope with stress, 420 undergraduate students completed the Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier and Carver, 1985), a measure of perceived control over stress, and the dispositional version of the COPE Inventory (Carver, Scheier and Weintraub, 1989). The results revealed a modest but reliable positive correlation between optimism and the perceived control measure. Principal-components analysis of the COPE revealed a factor structure which was generally in accord with prior research. Optimism was positively correlated with active coping and positive reinterpretation, and negatively correlated with focusing on and venting of emotion. Perceived control over stress was negatively correlated with behavioural disengagement. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.