Charles S. Carver

Carver, C. S. (2014). Self-control and optimism are distinct and complementary strengths. Personality and Individual Differences, 66, 24-26.

Optimism and self-control are two traits that have been linked to a wide range of positive life outcomes- indeed, to many of the same outcomes. Does that suggest the two are somehow redundant? In this study measures of optimism and self-control were related to each other and to a set of scales measuring socially problematic tendencies. Optimism correlated only .30 with self-control, suggesting that they are fairly distinct. Both correlated significantly with anger, hostility, verbal aggression, borderline tendencies, and endorsement of a ''code of honor.'' Multiple regression analyses determined that optimism and self-control made distinct contributions to predicting all of these outcomes other than verbal aggression. Findings are consistent with a view in which both optimism and self-control have important self-regulatory functions, but functions that differ from one another.

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