Optimism and Pessimism: Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice

Pages: 395
Item #: 431754A
ISBN: 978-1-55798-691-7
List Price: $39.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $29.95
Copyright: 2001
Format: Hardcover
Note: This book is out of print and no longer available for purchase.

Individual chapters of this book are available to purchase online.

Prevailing beliefs and attitudes, particularly in the West, encourage researchers and lay people alike to think almost exclusively in terms of the costs of pessimism and the benefits of optimism. This volume provides a forum in which leading scholars, researchers, and practitioners involved with the study of optimism and pessimism are given the opportunity to examine these beliefs. The result is a critical survey that enables readers to recognize the importance of "balance" in understanding the relative powers of both optimism and pessimism.

With a focus on the practical implications for therapy, contributors provide up-to-date reviews of the empirical foundations of these constructs. Particularly valuable is an examination of cultural, biological, and psychological factors on optimism and pessimism. Through the diversity of views presented, the editor illustrates a dynamic interplay between optimism and pessimism.

Table of Contents


—Lisa Miller, P. Scott Richards, and Roger R. Keller



Introduction: Optimism and Pessimism and Moving Beyond the Most Fundamental Question

I. Philosophical, Historical, and Conceptual Foundations

  1. Optimism and Pessimism From a Historical Perspective
    —Brian Domino and Daniel W. Conway
  2. Optimism, Pessimism, and Self-Regulation
    —Charles S. Carver and Michael F. Scheier
  3. Optimism, Pessimism, and Explanatory Style
    —Jane E. Gillham, Andrew J. Shatté, Karen J. Reivich, and Martin E. P. Seligman
  4. Defensive Pessimism, Optimism, and Pessimism
    —Julie K. Norem
  5. Optimism and Hope Constructs: Variants on a Positive Expectancy Theme
    —C. R. Snyder, Susie C. Sympsom, Scott T. Michael, and Jen Cheavens

II. Physical–Biological Factors

  1. Optimism and Physical Well-Being
    —Christopher Peterson and Lisa M. Bossio
  2. Optimism, Pessimism, and Daily Life With Chronic Illness
    —Glenn Affleck, Howard Tennen, and Andrea Apter
  3. Optimism and Pessimism: Biological Foundations
    —Marvin Zuckerman

III. Psychological Factors

  1. Optimism, Pessimism, and Psychological Well-Being
    —Michael F. Scheier, Charles S. Carver, and Michael W. Bridges
  2. Understanding How Optimism Works: An Examination of Optimists' Adaptive Moderation of Belief and Behavior
    —Lisa G. Aspinwall, Linda Richter, and Richard R. Hoffman III
  3. Great Expectations: Optimism and Pessimism in Achievement Settings
    —Jonathon D. Brown and Margaret A. Marshall

IV. Social–Cultural Factors

  1. Cultural Influences on Optimism and Pessimism: Differences in Western and Eastern Construals of the Self
    —Edward C. Chang
  2. The Optimism–Pessimism Instrument: Personal and Social Correlates
    —William N. Dember

V. Changes and Treatment

  1. Building Optimism and Preventing Depressive Symptoms in Children
    —Jane E. Gillham, Karen J. Reivich, and Andrew J. Shatté
  2. Optimism, Pessimism, and Psychotherapy: Implications for Clinical Practice
    —James L. Pretzer and Chaille A. Walsh

VI. The Future

  1. A Very Full Glass: Adding Complexity to Our Thinking About the Implications and Applications of Optimism and Pessimism Research
    —Julie K. Norem and Edward C. Chang

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editor