Dispositional Optimism and Physical Well-Being: The Influence of Generalized Outcome Expectancies on Health


  • Preparation of this article was facilitated by NSF Grants BNS 84-06235 and BNS 84-14601, and by grant AA06047 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Data collection for the study on coronary artery bypass surgery was facilitated by NIMH Grant MH30915

Requests for reprints should be sent to Michael F Scheier, Department of Psychology, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213


ABSTRACT This article explores the implications that dispositional optimism holds for physical well-being Research is reviewed that links optimism to a number of different positive health-relevant outcomes, ranging from the development of physical symptoms to recovery from coronary artery bypass surgery Additional findings are described which suggest that these beneficial effects are partly due to differences between optimists and pessimists in the strategies that they use to cope with stress A number of other potential mediators are also discussed, including some that are physiologic in nature The article closes with a discussion of the relationships betwen our own theoretical account of the effects of optimism and several other conceptual approaches