Optimism [last revised 2-20-15]

Since 1985, one of my research interests has been the personality dimension of optimism versus pessimism, which we conceptualize in terms of generalized expectancies concerning important future outcomes.  This dimension has proven to have implications for the manner in which people cope with stressful experiences, and the success with which they cope.  Some of the optimism research I have been involved in falls in the domain of health psychology (e.g., studies of breast cancer patients).  Some of it focuses more on with the inner workings of the minds of optimists and pessimists.  Some of it concerns relations between optimism and other constructs in personality psychology.  I continue to be interested in places where this difference between people makes a difference in how they think, act, and are responded to by others.

 

The most recent version of our measure of optimism, the Life Orientation Test-Revised, or LOT-R, can be downloaded from the linked page.

Selected relevant articles from our research group follow.  For more recent articles, check my publications page.

Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 879-889.   [abstract]

Rasmussen, H. N., Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (2006). Self-regulation processes and health: The importance of optimism and goal adjustment. Journal of Personality, 74, 1721-1748.  [abstract]

Carver, C. S., Smith, R. G., Antoni, M. H., Petronis, V. M., Weiss, S., & Derhagopian, R. P. (2005). Optimistic personality and psychosocial well-being during treatment predict psychosocial well-being among long-term survivors of breast cancer. Health Psychology, 24, 508-516.  [abstract]

Carver, C. S., Lehman, J. M., & Antoni, M. H. (2003). Dispositional pessimism predicts illness-related disruption of social and recreational activities among breast cancer patients. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 813-821.  [abstract]

Brissette, I., Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S.  (2002).  The role of optimism and social network development, coping, and psychological adjustment during a life transition.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 102-111.  [abstract]

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F.  (2001).  Optimism, pessimism, and self-regulation.  In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism and pessimism:  Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 31-51).  Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W.  (2001).  Optimism, pessimism, and psychological well-being.  In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism and pessimism:  Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 189-216).  Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F.  (1999).  Optimism.  In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Coping:  The psychology of what works (pp. 182-204).  New York:  Oxford University Press.

Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., Owens, J. F., Schulz, R., Bridges, M. W., Magovern, G. J., Sr., & Carver, C. S.  (1999).  Optimism and rehospitalization following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 829-835. [abstract]

Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A re-evaluation of the Life Orientation Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063-1078. [abstract]

Carver, C. S., Reynolds, S. L., & Scheier, M. F. (1994). The possible selves of optimists and pessimists. Journal of Research in Personality , 28, 133-141. [abstract]

Carver, C. S., Pozo-Kaderman, C., Harris, S. D., Noriega, V., Scheier, M. F., Robinson, D. S., Ketcham, A. S., Moffat, F. L., Jr., & Clark, K. C. (1994). Optimism vs pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer. Cancer, 73, 1213-1220. [abstract]

Carver, C. S., Pozo, C., Harris, S. D., Noriega, V., Scheier, M. F., Robinson, D. S., Ketcham, A. S., Moffat, F. L., Jr., & Clark, K. C. (1993). How coping mediates the effect of optimism on distress: A study of women with early stage breast cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 65, 375-390. [abstract]

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Research Interests
University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology