Explanatory Style and Illness


  • We thank Lisa M Bossio for her editorial advice

Requests for reprints should be sent to Christopher Peterson, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 580 Union Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


ABSTRACT Explanatory style is an individual difference that influences people's response to bad events The present article discusses the possibility that a pessimistic explanatory style makes illness more likely Several studies suggest that people who offer internal, stable, and global explanations for bad events are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality We tentatively conclude that passivity, pessimism, and low morale foreshadow disease and death, although the process by which this occurs is unclear