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The Role of Optimism in Health-enhancing Behavior

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Objective: To examine the relationship between levels of optimism and participation in health-enhancing behaviors. Methods: A convenience sample of volunteers obtained from undergraduate psychology classes (N=118) completed self-report measures of optimism and current health habits. They also predicted their use of various health strategies should they be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Results: Analyses revealed a positive association between scores on the measure of optimism and both of the health measures. Conclusions: The study extended earlier findings of a positive relationship between optimism and health-enhancing behaviors and demonstrated that this relationship can be observed for general health habits as well as in the context of a specific health threat.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS.

Publication date: July 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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