Distinguishing Optimism From Neuroticism (and Trait Anxiety, Self-Mastery, and Self-Esteem): A Reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test

Distinguishing Optimism From Neuroticism (and Trait Anxiety, Self-Mastery, and Self-Esteem): A Reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test

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Abstract of the Article

Research on dispositional optimism as assessed by the Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985) has been challenged on the grounds that effects attributed to optimism are indistinguishable from those of unmeasured third variables, most notably, neuroticism. Data from 4,309 subjects show that associations between optimism and both depressions and aspects of coping remain significant even when the effects of neuroticism, as well as the effects of trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem, are statistically controlled.

Distinguishing Optimism From Neuroticism (and Trait Anxiety, Self-Mastery, and Self-Esteem): A Reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test
Distinguishing Optimism From Neuroticism (and Trait Anxiety, Self-Mastery, and Self-Esteem): A Reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test

Thus, the Life Orientation Test does appear to possess adequate predictive and discriminant validity. Examination of the scale on somewhat different grounds, however, does suggest that future applications can benefit from its revision. Thus, we also describe a minor modification to the Life Orientation Test, along with data bearing on the revised scale’s psychometric properties.

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Authors of the Article

  •  Michael F. Scheier
  • Charles S. Carver
  • Michael W. Bridges

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I am a senior clinical psychologist with over 11years of experience in the field. I am the founder of Psychology Roots, a platform that provides solutions and support to learners and professionals in psychology. My goal is to help people understand and improve their mental health, and to empower them to live happier and healthier lives.

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