Dispositional Optimism, Psychophysiology, and Health

Suzanne C. Segerstrom

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342819
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Dispositional Optimism, Psychophysiology, and Health

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Dispositional optimism—the belief that the future generally holds positive but not negative events—appears to confer widespread benefit in terms of psychosocial well-being. An important question is whether this advantage extends to biological functions, such as immune activity, and to physical health. Although several studies have examined this question, the answer is still obscure. Amid studies demonstrating a physiological or health benefit to being more dispositionally optimistic are a substantial number of null findings. This chapter reviews these studies and considers why optimism is not more consistently associated with lower blood pressure, higher immune function, and lower morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: Dispositional optimism; psychosocial well-being; health

Article.  8348 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

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