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This study examined the differences between dispositional optimists and pessimists in their reporting of ill health and health promoting behaviors for a stress-related illness, namely influenza. The results revealed clear and consistent attentional biases of the dispositions as measured by the Life Orientation Test. While optimists and pessimists did not differ in stress levels or the number of incidences of flu, pessimists reported the duration as longer, a higher expectancy of flu in the future, and more symptoms and causes of stress than did optimists. On the other hand, optimists reported greater engagement in health promoting behavior and more specific attempts at prevention of flu. These differences are discussed with regard to attentional style and affect and the implications for further research are outlined.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1990-01-01

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