Optimism


One of the areas of investigation by those involved in positive psychology is positive health which includes individuals with cardiovascular disease. Open a new page to visit the University of Pennsylvania "Authentic Happiness" page, https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/learn/positivehealth.

The approach used in the field of positive health is a focus on positive health assets in addition to the traditional medical approach of preventing, diagnosing, and treatment of diseases. Positive health can be defined as the sum of subjective, biological, and functional assets that increase health. Dr. Seligman believes individuals desire well-being above and beyond relief of suffering. Funding for this research includes a $2.8 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Cardiovascular Disease (CAD) and optimism

The studies of optimism and CAD show a strong relationship between an optimistic view and more positive cardiovascular outcomes (DuBois, et al., 2015). Scheier et al (1989) a decrease in post-operative complication six weeks after CABG in patients scoring high in optimism before the surgery. These optimistic patients were also more likely to resume physical exercise.

Myaskovsky et al (2006) studied the change in quality of life in 12-month survivors of lung and heart transplant patients. The quality of life indicators they looked at were physical functioning, vitality, bodily pain, physical role, emotional role, social functioning, and mental health. Optimism predicted quality of life in physical, psychological and social domains.

Jowsey et al (2012) review the records of 68 patients two years before heart transplants and close to four years after. Optimism as an attribution/explanatory style predicted a higher quality of life. Pessimistic explanatory style was associated with depressive symptoms. However, neither style was associated with longer survival.

Dr. Seligman (2006) in his book entitled, Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life, describes the constructs of optimism as consisting of three dimensions: permanence, pervasiveness and personalization. The optimism questionnaire is available to be taken and scored on the following external website. http://web.stanford.edu/class/msande271/onlinetools/LearnedOpt.html

Permanence

Permanence describes events in terms that indicate bad or good events will occur with certain permanence. A pessimistic individual will score high on negative events as being permanent, always occurring. Positive events are seen as temporary, only occurring once in a while. Optimistic individuals tend to see positive events as permanent, believing they will keep occurring and negative events as temporary, not seeing them as continuously occurring.

Positive events are viewed in the opposite direction. Optimistic individuals will tend to see positive events as universal, enhancing the other parts of their lives. Pessimistic individuals will see positive events as specific, limited to the event.

Pervasiveness describes events as specific or universal. A pessimistic individual will see a negative event as universal permeating his or her entire life with a tendency to catastrophize the event. They might say something like, I got fired and my life is just awful. An optimistic individual with see a negative event as specific and not have it spill out to his or her entire life. They might say something like, I lost my job but I am grateful to have so much in my life for which to be thankful.

Positive events are viewed in the opposite direction. Optimistic individuals will tend to see positive events as universal, enhancing the other parts of their lives. Pessimistic individuals will see positive events as specific, limited to the event.

Personalization

Personalization style refers to how an individual sees the source of a positive or negative occurrence as external or internal. Optimistic individuals explain good events as internal, with them influences the occurrence of the event. Pessimistic side of explaining good events is external, with someone else influencing the occurrence.

Personalization style refers to how an individual sees the source of a positive or negative occurrence as external or internal. Optimistic individuals explain good events as internal, with them influences the occurrence of the event. Pessimistic side of explaining good events is external, with someone else influencing the occurrence.

Optimistic/pessimistic Explanatory styles
 
Negative events
Positive events
Permanence
Pessimistic-negative events permanent (PMB) Optimistic-positive events permanent (PMG)
Optimistic-negative events temporary Pessimistic-positive events temporary
Pervasive
Pessimistic-negative events universal (PVB Optimistic-positive events universal (PVG
Optimistic-negative events specific Pessimistic-positive events specific
Personalization
Pessimistic-negative events internal (PSB Optimistic-positive events internal (PSG)
Optimistic-negative events external Pessimistic-positive events external

References


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