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Dispositional optimism and health status, symptoms and behaviours: Assessing idiothetic relationships using a prospective daily diary approach

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The present idiothetic study attempted to address a number of unresolved issues in the understanding of dispositional optimism in relation to physical health outcomes. The study examined the mediation model of optimism (Chang, Sanna, & Yang, 2003) in daily experiences of health status, symptoms and behaviours, and the influence of daily events (uplifts, hassles) and mood (positive, negative) on optimism-health relationships. Consistent with the model, dispositional optimism was prospectively related directly and indirectly via trait negative and positive affectivity to health experiences. Daily positive and negative mood and events impacted directly on health experiences. However, only the 'positives' of daily life (uplifts, mood) moderated the influence of optimism on health outcomes. The implications of these findings for understanding the dynamics of the optimism-health process are discussed, and the relative utility of using a 1- or 2-factor model of dispositional optimism is explored.
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Keywords: Optimism; health behaviours; health status; multilevel modelling; pessimism; positive and negative affectivity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Oral Health and Development, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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