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Do Dispositional Pessimism and Optimism Predict Ambulatory Blood Pressure During Schooldays and Nights in Adolescents?


  • This work was supported by grants HL25767, HL065111, HL065112, HL076852, and HL076858 from the National Institutes of Health and by a grant 104769 from the Finnish Academy.

concerning this article should be addressed to Karen A. Matthews, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Phone: 412-246-5950, Fax: 412-246-5333, E-mail:


ABSTRACT We tested the hypotheses that (1) high pessimism and low optimism (LOT-R overall and subscale scores) would predict high ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) level and 24-hour load (percentage of ABP values exceeding the pediatric 95th percentile) among healthy Black and White adolescents (n=201; 14–16 yrs) across 2 consecutive school days and (2) that the relationships for the pessimism and optimism subscales would show nonlinear effects. The hypotheses were confirmed for pessimism but not for optimism. The results suggest that high pessimism may have different effects than low optimism on ABP and that even moderate levels of pessimism may effect blood pressure regulation. These results suggest that optimism and pessimism are not the opposite poles on a single continuum but ought to be treated as separate constructs.