Is it Better to be an Optimist or Pessimist? Here are the Facts
as trying to define a common goal and brainstorm ways to work toward it. Spouses higher in relationship-specific optimism, however, had greater at Austin, cautions this finding does not mean pessimism is the way to go. PDF | Peterson and Bossio () have proposed that pessimistic More specifically, the relationship between optimism and resources is .. Dispositional Optimism and Engagement: The Moderating Influence of Goal. Explore whether it's better to be an optimist or pessimist and how this will How dare they do this after you have given so much of yourself to this relationship? .. take more intelligent and calculated risks as you work on pursuing your goals.
Optimism - Wikipedia
With respect to the pathway of motivational and behavioral performance, Rasmussen, Scheier and Greenhouse [ 9 ] concluded that very few studies have attempted to capture the underlying pathways by which optimism impacts disease and health. Studies are needed that assess optimism, the suspected underlying pathways, and relevant disease endpoints and health outcomes.
Carver, Scheier and Segerstrom [ 6 ] found evidence that optimism is associated with taking proactive steps to protect one's health, whereas pessimism is associated with health-damaging behaviors, but research on optimism and health, with an emphasis on exploration of mechanisms of action should continue [ 3 ].
Considering some of these suggestions and proposals, in the current study, we suggest two general goals. Firstly, we want to examine the relationship between optimism and physical and mental health, and also between optimism and health behaviors.
We considered a measure of health instead of asking participants about their individual health behaviors, because research indicates that, rather than being independent, health behaviors occur in clusters or dimensions [ 2120 ]. For this purpose, we used the measures to analyze the first goal, and we applied the Optimism-Pessimism Questionnaire OPQ [ 1012 ] to extract three groups from the total sample of participants, that we classified as dispositional-realistic pessimism, defensive pessimism, and dispositional-realistic optimism groups.
Our aim was to determine whether they differ in various components of physical and mental health and in their health behaviors. The extraction of these three groups is described in the statistical analysis section.
Method Participants and procedure Participants were undergraduate Psychology students, male and female, with a mean age of The participants were not rewarded for taking part in the study. Due to the characteristics of the National University of Distance Education UNEDparticipants are representative of the general population, are people who study and work, have different professions, living in urban and rural environments, and have a very wide age range. This study took into account the Declaration of Helsinki and ethical guidelines.
The LOT-R is a short instrument with 10 self-report items. Only 6 of the 10 items are used to derive an optimism score. The remaining 4 items are filler items. Of the 6 items, 3 are keyed positively, and 3 negatively. We used the adapted version for the Spanish population by Perczerk, et al.
Participants were asked to rate their agreement with each item from 1 Strongly disagree to 5 Strongly agree. The three negatively worded items were reversed scored and added to the three positively worded items to create summary optimism scores, so ratings can potentially range from 6 to 30, with higher scores indicating higher levels of dispositional optimism. The psychometric properties of the LOT-R have been well documented by the developers of the instrument [ 45 ].
A recent meta-analytical study on the internal consistency of the LOT-R yielded a mean alpha coefficient of 0. In the population used in this study, the scores on this scale had Cronbach alpha coefficients of 0. Researchers sometimes split the Life Orientation Test-Revised into 2 subscales, one consisting of only positively valenced items and the other consisting of only negatively valenced items.
We chose not to use subscales for theoretical and methodological reasons, optimism is most accurately captured by a scale that combines positively worded items that are endorsed and negatively worded items that are rejected [ 24 ]. Furthermore, it is increasingly apparent that this separation into subscales may be at odds with the goal of controlling for acquiescence response bias in the measurement of psychological constructs [ 25 ].
The Psychology of Optimism and Pessimism: Theories and Research Findings
Carver, Scheier and Segerstrom [ 6 ] in a review, continued to recommended that the LOT-R be used as a unidimensional scale in primary analyses. Thus, following recent theorizing and work in this area, we used the 6-item composite, rather than creating two 3-item subscales [ 26 - 29 ].
Optimism-Pessimism Questionnaire OPQ [ 1012 ] This 9-item questionnaire was designed to assess defensive pessimism and optimism in academic situations. Items are rated on a Likert-type response scale ranging from 1 not at all true of me to 11 very true of me.
Using this scale, an optimism-pessimism score is computed by subtracting the sum of the endorsements of the four pessimistic items from the sum of the endorsement of the four optimistic items. Reliability and validity have been well documented by the developers of the instrument [ 101214 ]. In this study, we only considered the reply to Item 3 of the questionnaire "I've generally done pretty well in academic situations in the past"which assesses past academic success, following the recommendations of the authors of the questionnaire, who indicate that this item is used to distinguish between defensive pessimism and realistic pessimism [ 101214 ].
Health measures Health Survey SF Questionnaire SF [ 19 ] We applied SF the version 2 SFv2 that asks participants about all the health dimensions of the past 4 weeks, except for the dimensions of physical functioning and general health.
We used a Spanish version, which has shown good internal consistency, reliability, and validity [ 3031 ]. It is applicable to the general population as well as to clinical groups [ 32 ]. It is comprised of 36 items that report positive and negative states of physical health and emotional well-being. Items are rated on a Likert-type response scale that evaluates intensity or frequency, the number of response options ranges from three to six, depending on the item.
Some items are scored in reverse, the score in reverse of the items is done to ensure that a higher value of the item indicates better health in all items and scales of the SF Scale scores are a sum of all items in the specific scale and do not require further standardization or weighting, the score of each scale or dimension has been obtained from the algebraic sum of the final value of the items that compose it.
It identifies 8 dimensions of health: The reliability and validity of the SF have been well documented by the developers of the instrument [ 1933 ]. In the population used in this study, the scores on this scale had the following Cronbach alpha coefficients: Twenty-six of the items assess four factor-analytically derived health behaviors.
The HBC measures four factors: Wellness Maintenance and Enhancement Behaviors, with 10 items e. When scoring this last factor, all items are reversed. Participants indicate how well each item describes their typical behavior on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 disagree strongly to 5 agree strongly. Health behaviors form two broader categories or dimensions: The procedures used to develop the HBC, as well as the reliability and validity of the scale, are described in Vickers, Conway and Hervig [ 20 ].
There is also evidence of criterion-referenced validity in comparison with relevant measures [ 2034 ]. We used our translated spanish version, which has shown good internal consistency [ 35 ].
Data analysis To analyze the relationships between optimism and physical and mental health, and the relations between optimism and health behaviors, Pearson product moment correlations two-tailed and stepwise multiple regression analysis and linear regression analysis were carried out.
We took into account the entire sample, participants, and used the optimism score obtained in the LOT-R test. Due to the wide age range of the population studied, 18 to 73 years of age, and to the fact that age may influence health components and health-related behaviors, we calculated Pearson product moment correlations two-tailed between age and the health components and health-related behaviors.
We analyzed the relationships between optimism LOT-R and health components and health-related behaviors. To explore the predictive value of age and optimism LOT-R as the independent variables, stepwise multiple regression analysis and linear regression analysis were performed, with the components of physical and mental health and the categories of health-related behaviors as the dependent variables. First, the LOT-R test scores obtained by the participants were divided into three parts tertiary split.
Three groups of people were formed statistically depending on the score obtained in the LOT-R test. The first group comprised people with a score of less than 21 bottom thirdthe second group was formed of people with scores between 21 and 25 middle thirdand the third group was made up of people with a score greater than 25 top third.
We excluded the individuals who fell in the middle third of the distribution, because they may be heterogeneous. Secondly, as a function of the goals of the study, the participants selected in the previous step were assigned to groups based on the scores they had obtained in the LOT-R and in Item 3 of the OPQ. The groups were formed in the following way Dispositional-realistic pessimism Participants who fell into the bottom third of the distribution of the LOT-R scores scale score less than 21and scored less than 9 on Item 3 of the OPQ.
This group comprised a total of 54 people, 12 male Defensive pessimism Participants who fell into the bottom third of the distribution of the LOT-R scores scale score less than 21and with a score equal to or greater than 9 on Item 3 of the OPQ.
This group included people, 27 male Why am I the victim here? Questioning yourself in this way makes you feel worse.
As a result, you start complainingblaming and making excuses about how things are and about how they ought to be. Everything and everyone is to blame for your predicament, except of course yourself. You are just a victim here, a victim of circumstance who is powerless to change a thing. Likewise, you blame your partner for cheating on you. How could they do this to you? How dare they do this after you have given so much of yourself to this relationship? It must have been a faulty traffic camera that caught you out.
Your pessimistic nature makes it difficult for you to contain and settle your thoughts. As such, your mind is constantly blowing things out of proportion without having the supportive evidence to justify the conclusions you are making. In fact, in this state, you are essentially exaggerating every experience and making things out to be far worse than they should be.
The biggest problem you have is the fact that you are failing to consider alternate perspectives and scenarios. All you see is your problems getting ever so larger before your eyes.
In fact, your negative expectations are just spiraling your emotions down a deep dark bottomless abyss. You and your partner are obviously done for good. Either way you win. You wish things were different and desperately want things to work out. However, because you always expect the worst you never actually make the effort to try and make things better. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and so you prefer just to live day-by-day hoping that luck will favor you in some way.
In other words, you believe that everything is completely out of your control. You go home that night and reflect on the most awful and miserable day of your life with regret. You regret the past, you complain about the present and you worry about an uncertain future. As a result, you believe that this will lead to further problems down the line.
Given all this, you kind of feel stuck and unable to move forward. Your pessimistic nature prevents you from making the most of your strengths and abilities.
In fact, you completely underestimate your abilities. Instead, you succumb to your negative tendencies and accept how things are, and how you are.
Moreover, you accept that things will only get worse from here on in, and as a result, you feel even more helpless and insecure about yourself.
To begin with, an optimist understands that things will never be perfect; that life will never be perfect. As such, life is always going to be challenging and uncertain, and sacrifices will need to be made. They are also enthusiastic, patientcalm and resilient when facing adversity.
Moreover, they come from a place of gratitude rather than one of blame.
An optimist believes that difficulties are an inevitable part of life. However, they also believe that difficulties are temporary and can be overcome.
As such, they always keep an open mind to the possibilities that might exist. To put it another way, they always hope for the best but prepare themselves for the worst. The part about not being able to do it without support sounds like it could be any combination of anxiety, learned helplessness, and as several people said upthread, low or inadequate coping skills.
And you know better than we do, but the part about "I'll just cancel my commitment, I won't go, and whatever issues this creates will just be mine to deal with" sounds a lot like subtle passive aggressiveness and guilt tripping. Is it possible that the way he has learned to cope with difficult or challenging situations in the past, is to kind of just express strong negative feelings and emotions to someone, until that person spends a lot of time comforting him and comes to his rescue?
Again, you know better than we do, but if that seems like it might be the case, I think this isn't just run of the mill pessimism. It sounds like something that could be really helped by can you guess what my next word will be?
Optimist in love with a pessimist. Any tips? - relationships optimism pessimism | Ask MetaFilter
Why would he think everything is going to turn up shiny rosy without any evidence of such? Also just wanted to say that at least in the example you gave, your position sounds unquestionably grounded, realistic, and logical.
Sometimes people see themselves as being eminently logical people, describe themselves that way, and in their speech use keywords associated with dispassionate, analytical, and logical thinking "proof," "likelihood," "percentage," etc. But often those people are the least logical of all, and are in fact just the most blind and defensive to it when they are being illogical, because so much of their identity is wrapped up in being an "analytical" person.
And sometimes we don't realize this about them just because it's natural to think of people the way they think of themselves and have presented themselves to us.
So I just want to say, one of my tips is don't fall into the trap of both of you automatically considering him to be the grounded and realistic one, while you are the pollyanna. Be aware of it when you are being the grounded and realistic one because my bets are that it's actually more frequent.
That seems like immaturity. It can be very exhausting sometimes. I do agree with previous responses that noted you two seemed to work things out pretty well in this case though. A few notes from my experience: It can be really frustrating at times, but it's just the way he is. You're not going to be able to change his knee-jerk pessimism anyvmore than he will be able to change your optimism.
So, sometimes my husband will say something is terrible and won't work out, and I just say, "Ok - maybe you're right". That will calm him down so that he doesn't think I'm dismissing his concerns. And I'll also listen to all the reasons he has for being pessimistic - because usually there are legitimate issues behind his opinions.
But then I'll come up with another option, and casually bring it up And then sometimes I'm right and things are actually okay. So it's not necessarily true that pessimists are wrong!
But like you, I agree that life is better when you assume that things will work out. I'm most pessimistic when I'm tired, so i've ruled out bedtime as a time for evaluating our overall likelihood of success, because if he starts in on a "we will never succeed" discussion then, I will believe it, and I'm not temperamentally suited to live with that, so I get upset and want to go find solutions THEN and can't sleep. I think you may be right that over time, you can get used to one another's approach and say "oh this is an optimism pessimism thing again.
Is it Better to be an Optimist or Pessimist? Here are the Facts…
Is that something that might be going on? You might want to look into it. It might help explain the limited coping skills as well. I know that personally the most pessimistic I have been is when I was depressed. It's learned helplessness and immaturity as I see others have mentioned. My boyfriend was like this when we first started dating.
Initially I tried to fix things in good faith, as you're trying now. It was a hard realization when I figured out he doesn't really want a solution, he wants to be coddled and pout. He reacted this way to all changes in plans, not just the ones I initiate, and would essentially melt down if things weren't turning out exactly to his specifications. It drove me fucking nuts, and I learned the only way to combat it is to be sympathetic but firm.
My rubric generally follows this pattern: The important thing I emphasized was if he cuts off his nose to spite his face, that's his choice, and he is choosing to be miserable by acting as if his misery is a foregone conclusion. He's a good guy at heart, he's just never had anyone not coddle him baby of the family, grew up with much older sister and mom so he didn't know an alternative way to act.
When he no longer had someone feeding his bullshit, he learned sitting alone in his misery wasn't quite so appealing.