'Dispositional optimism, which is defined as the tendency to expect positive vs negative life outcomes (Scheier & Carver, 1992), is a stable, characteristic that has been shown to play a protective role in long-term psychological outcomes.'
'In one study of women with early stage breast cancer, optimism was strongly associated with, and predicted changes in, adjustment. Specifically, individuals exhibiting increased levels of optimism also reported increased levels of subjective well-being, whereas a more pessimistic outlook was associated with poorer adjustment (Carver et all., 1994)'
In another example, Curbow and colleagues examined the role of personal changes and dispositional optimism in the psychological adjustment in long term survivors of bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Results indicated that low levels of optimism were significantly predictive of more negative mood after controlling for both demographic and illness variables.
In another example, in an investigation of the role of optimism in the adjustment of HIV seronegative and seropositive men (i.e., men at risk for developing AIDS), higher levels of optimism were associated with less distress (Taylor et al., 1992)
'Optimism may act as a buffer against stress by influencing the types of coping strategies individuals choose to employ.' (Schier et all., 1986)
Optimists and pessimists use different coping strategies.
Optimists are more adaptive, active, accepting and seek social support.
Pessimists strategies are escape and avoidance.
'In contrast, individuals with a less optimistic outlook are more likely to employ denial and behavioural disengagement as coping techniques which are both associated with increased distress.' (Carver et at., 1993).