|UFDC Home||myUFDC Home | Help|
This item has the following downloads:
DO OPTIMISTS HAVE BETTER LIVES?
A QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL OPTIMISM, LIFE SATISFACTION,
AND QUALITY-OF-LIFE STUDY
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
To Dr. Christine Stopka.
There are many people I would like to thank for their assistance in completing my
master' s thesis. I would like to begin with my chair, Dr. Christine Stopka. Without her
unwavering support and enthusiasm I may have never had the confidence and motivation
to finish my thesis. I also thank her for believing in me, even when my ambitious
timetable was unorthodox and daunting. She always took the time to offer the advice,
materials, and encouragement I needed, despite her own hectic schedule. Dr. Stopka was
my rock during my years at the University of Florida as a graduate student, and she has
touched my life in many ways.
I would also like to thank Dr. Pete Giacobbi for all of his help with statistical
analyses and research questions. I would like to thank the other member of my thesis
committee, Dr. Fagerberg, as well as Dr. Fleming for taking time and serving on my
committee at the last minute, when scheduling got difficult.
In addition, I would like to mention the credit deserved by my family and friends.
They offered support to me just when I needed it, and their knowledge and assistance has
been invaluable. I deeply thank everyone who gave me help and support.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .........__... ......._. .............._ iv...
LIST OF TABLES ........._.__........_. ..............vii....
AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ..........._..._ viii..
INTRODUCTION .............. ...............1.....
Related Research and Theory ................. ...............2.......... .....
Purpose .............. ...............9.....
Hypothesis ................. ...............10.......... .....
M ETHOD S ................. ...............11.......... .....
Research Design ................. ...............11.......... .....
Participants and Setting ................. ...............11................
Procedures .............. ...............12....
M measures ................. ...............12.................
Data Analy sis............... ...............16
RE SULT S .............. ...............18....
DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............2.. 1..............
Summary ................. ...............23.................
Conclusion ................. ...............24.................
INFORMED CON SENT .............. ...............26....
DEMOGRAPHICS QUESIONNAIRE .............. ...............28....
LIFE ORIENTATION TEST .............. ...............29....
QUALITY-OF-LIFE SCALE ............. ...... .__ ...............30...
SATISFACTION WITH LIFE SCALE .....__.....___ ..........._ ............
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............32................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............38....
LIST OF TABLES
1 Life Orientation Test categories ................. ...............13........... ...
2 Quality-of-life categories in five domains .............. ...............15....
3 Satisfaction With Life Scale score ranges............... ...............16.
4 Descriptive statistics............... ...............1
5 Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients for the relationship of Quality-
of-life Scale and Satisfaction With Life Scale (N = 367) .............. ...................20
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
DO OPTIMISTS HAVE BETTER LIVES?
A QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL OPTIMISM, LIFE SATISFACTION,
AND QUALITY-OF-LIFE STUDY
Chair: Christine Stopka
Maj or Department: Health Education and Behavior
Defieits exist in the research base that links optimism with life satisfaction and
quality of life. Although all three of the above constructs are widely studied in their
respective Hields, optimism and life satisfaction seem to be used more diversely than
quality of life. Using the general population' s quality of life in research has been severely
neglected in favor of populations with chronic illnesses. In addition, optimism, while a
respected and widely used construct, is seldom used to assess individuals' more global
perceptions of life. It is mostly used in describing specific situations and perceptions. For
these reasons, our purpose was to discern whether a causal link exists between optimism
and life satisfaction and quality of life scores in a large university setting. Participants
were undergraduate students at a large southeastern university. Optimism (the
independent variable) was assessed using Scheier and Carver' s Life Orientation Test
(LOT). The dependent variables (quality of life and life satisfaction) were measured
using Flanagan's Quality-of-life Scale and Diener and colleagues' Satisfaction With Life
Scale. The scales were administered in the form of a pencil-and-paper survey to 367
students. Two separate one-way independent groups analyses of variance (ANOVAs)
were conducted to determine whether optimists and pessimists differed across scores on
the Quality of Life Scale, and to examine whether optimists and pessimists differed
across scores on the Satisfaction With Life Scale. Students identified as optimists scored
significantly higher on quality of life and life satisfaction scales than did students
identified as pessimists.
A general consensus is that optimists look at specific situations more positively
than pessimists do. Does this situation-specific outlook generalize to people's overall life
satisfaction and quality of life? Are optimists actually more likely than pessimists to see
their entire lives as being satisfying and having better quality?
Optimism is defined as "the inclination to expect favorable life outcomes"
(Marshall et al., 1992, p. 1067). This definition implies that optimism is a way of seeing
future events (and perhaps present situations) in a certain positive light. Whether
optimism is situation-specific or generalizes to larger states of being is unclear. Thus,
research is needed to discern whether optimism influences a more-complete view of an
individual's entire life, not just a specific moment or situation.
According to Lazarus (2002, p. 667), "The prime obj ective of basic research is to
understand life and the world in which it exists." Although optimism, quality of life, and
life satisfaction are well known and widely studied constructs, there is a deficit in
research concerning linking the three. Quality of life studies tend to focus on people with
chronic illnesses and life satisfaction has broader applications, yet neither quality of life
nor life satisfaction has been widely studied with regard to physically and mentally
healthy persons. Optimism and pessimism are thought of as relevant dimensions of
personality and are often studied in relation to stress and coping but research linking
optimism and pessimism to a more general outlook is lacking. Optimism, quality of life,
and life satisfaction have never been combined to find common ground. It is worth
investigating whether optimists only perceive circumstances with more positive
conceptual wording than pessimists. If optimists and pessimists have feel the same about
their lives and merely use different words for the same feelings, there should be no
difference in their self-reported quality of life or life satisfaction scores. If pessimists
merely use more-negative words to describe the same baseline emotional level, then their
lives are not actually less satisfying or of a lower quality than optimists' lives.
Related Research and Theory
Optimists are aware that the cherries of life have pits, but
they are prepared to remove them. Their minds do not dwell on the
pits, but on the sweetness of the cherries. --Anonymous
Optimism. A broad research base exists concerning optimism and pessimism,
especially regarding its influence on other aspects of life. Dispositional optimism affects
physical and psychological well-being (Scheier et al., 1994), and accounts for individual
differences in psychological well-being (Turkum, 2005). The more optimistic the
individual, the lower the individual's perceived stress (Segerstrom et al., 1998). People
with higher levels of optimism show lower levels of perceived stress (Turkum, 2005).
Optimism has been negatively correlated with depression in pregnant women (Carver &
Gaines, 1987). Optimistic women respond better to unsuccessful in vitro fertilization
(Litt et al., 1992). Optimists are also less likely to suffer from postpartum depression
(Carver & Gaines, 1987). Optimistic students adjust more easily and with less distress to
the first semester of college (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1992). Students who are under stress
cope better and are more successful later, in their careers, if they are optimists rather than
pessimists (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1992). The belief is becoming more widespread that
stress is a major causal factor in illness (DeLongis et al., 1988). Optimists show lower
average ambulatory blood pressure (Raikkonen et al., 1999), and recover more quickly
from coronary artery bypass surgery (Scheier et al., 1989). A variety of studies show that
optimism can influence the effectiveness of treatments for AIDS and recovery rates from
heart attacks (Cariflo & Rhodes, 2002). A commonly used and accepted measurement
tool for measuring optimism is the Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier & Carver, 1985),
which is a "measure of the extent to which individuals possess favorable expectations
regarding life outcomes" (Marshall et al., 1992, p. 1068).
Quality of life. Quality of life (QOL) has generated great interest from researchers
and theorists alike in many diverse fields (Zullig, 2005).The earliest commonly reported
quality of life conceptualization was by Aristotle, who considered the "good life," or
happiness, a result of a life of virtue (Morgan, 1992). More recently, psychologists and
sociologists have described quality of life in terms of an individual's expectations and
goals in life, and whether these aspirations are realized (Anderson & Burckhardt, 1999).
As time has passed, definitions of quality of life have taken several different routes.
The concept of QOL has been identified as very complex, and to further complicate the
matter, many studies do not operationally define their conceptualization of quality of life,
as in a literature review of 75 articles, only 15, or 1 1% of reviewed articles with the term
"quality of life" in the title conceptually defined QOL (Gill & Feinstein, 1994). One of
the reasons, among others, for the overall confusion with defining quality of life stems
from different authors approaching the complicated term from a range of varied
perspectives (Leplege & Hunt, 1997). Philosophers examine the nature of human
existence, economists focus on the allocation of resources to achieve alternative goals,
nurses, while taking a broad view of quality of life as is dictated by their discipline's
holism, are waylaid by disease-specific issues, and physicians focus solely on physical
health and illness-related variables (Anderson & Burckhardt, 1999).
The seemingly most common definition of quality of life is an individual's
experienced personal satisfaction with areas of life that are considered important to the
individual (Bowling, 1997). In 1990, Oleson defined quality of life as the subjective
perception of happiness or satisfaction with life in domains of importance to the
individual. Anderson and Burckhardt (1999) defined quality of life using a similar idea;
"individuals' perceptions of satisfaction with life in various domains" (p. 304).
Anderson and Burckhardt (1999) argued that quality of life is often confused with
concepts such as symptoms, mood, functional status and general health status. Although
there are similarities between quality of life and the above concepts, it remains unique
and distinct from other health-related concepts.
Although it has previously been within the realm of mental and psychological
health and wellness, modern health care has evidenced an increased interest in evaluating
quality of life as a treatment outcome (Archenholtz & Burckhardt, 1999). The World
Health Organization defines health as not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but
as a concept that incorporates notions of well-being or wellness in all areas of life:
physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social, and therefore transforms health from a
more narrowed physical view to a broad concept that encompasses the entire spectrum of
wellness and disease (Anderson & Burckhardt, 1999).
Cantril (1965) created a scale based on subj ective, individual standards that
participants in his study created about the self and the environment, therefore guiding
behavior and defining satisfaction. He viewed his central problem as learning "what these
standards are in a person's own terms and not by our own standards." To remedy this,
Cantril allowed respondents to define his/her own assumptions, perceptions, goals, and
values. As a result, he found that Americans' maj or concerns (expressed in over 10% of
responses) consisted of maintenance of the status quo, old age, leisure time, personal and
family health, children, a decent standard of living, and housing. Other documented
concerns included worries about war, continued employment, working conditions,
resolution of religious problems, attaining emotional maturity, being accepted, and
having modern conveniences. These findings help illustrate that Americans experienced a
wide variation in individualized concerns, covering all facets of life.
Later, Dalkey et al (1972) concluded that a similarly broad spectrum of situations
determine the quality of people' s lives. Dalkey et al hypothesized that, since they
believed that the basic components of QOL are shared by all people, the emphasis placed
on these components varied among individuals because of value judgments concerning
the amount of each component they were currently receiving. Through their Delphi
studies, the researchers identified thirteen characteristics rated by respondents: love and
affection; self-respect and self-satisfaction; peace of mind; sexual satisfaction; challenge
and stimulation; social acceptance; achievement and job satisfaction; individuality;
involvement and participation; comfort, economic well-being and good health; novelty
and change; dominance, superiority, and independence; and privacy.
Within the same decades as the two previously mentioned studies, other
investigations were also examining the quality of life concept (Andrews & Withey, 1976,
Shin & Johnson, 1978, Michalos, 1986). These studies encompassed slightly different
ideals describing the definition and domains of quality of life, however, they did develop
similar definitions concerning the subj activity to the person' s perspective who is
describing their quality of life, the numerous domains or dimensions of life that influence
the global perception of quality of life, and contentment with one' s life being determined
by whether one's perceived expectations, needs, and/or aspirations are actually being
Revicki et al. (2000, p. 888) defined QOL as "a broad range of human experiences
related to one' s overall well-being. It implies value based on subj ective functioning in
comparison with personal expectations and is defined by subj ective experiences, states
and perceptions. QOL, by its very nature, is idiosyncratic to the individual, but intuitively
meaningful and understandable to most people." Although it has been considered of
particular interest for the health sciences for years, as a United States federal mandate
concerning cancer treatment over two decades ago encouraged the exploration of similar
outcome measures for health care (Johnson & Temple, 1985), QOL continues to be
somewhat controversial, as whether it is an appropriate outcome variable for the health
care disciplines is still being explored in recent research (Anderson & Burckhardt, 1999).
In the mid-1970's, development of the Quality-of-life Scale (QOLS; Flanagan,
1978) was undertaken by an American psychologist named John Flanagan.
Approximately 3,000 Americans from varying backgrounds, ethnic groups, and ages
were asked to contribute experiences that were important or satisfying to them. Flanagan
purposefully included ethnic minorities, senior citizens, low socioeconomic groups, and
rural inhabitants, because, as Flanagan (1978, p. 138) stated, "the purpose of using the
regional samples and diverse groups was not to obtain accurate estimates of frequencies
but rather to insure that differeing points of view and types of experience were
represented." A scale of 15 items was developed representing five domains Flanagan's
team derived from over 6,000 critical incidents (Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003).
After developing the 15-item scale, Flanagan surveyed 3,000 people across the
nation aged 30, 50, and 70, using 5-point scales of "needs met" and "importance." The
results revealed that the maj ority of participants felt that the items were important to
them, as well as confirming that the maj ority was satisfied that their needs were being
met in all areas (Flanagan, 1982).
Although the original QOLS used two five-point scales of"importance" and "needs
met" to determine content validity in the initial study (Burckhardt et al, 1989), reliability
of this scaling had not been reported at the time. A seven-point scale with responses of
"delighted" (7), "pleased" (6), "mostly satisfied" (5), "mixed" (4), "mostly dissatisfied"
(3), "unhappy" (2), and "terrible" (1) was adopted, as Andrews and Crandall (1976) had
suggested that the seven-point scale was more sensitive and less negatively skewed than a
5-point satisfaction scale for a quality-of-life assessment, probably because it allowed for
a wider variation of affective responses to QOL items (Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003).
In 1981 Flanagan gave permission to adapt the scale for patients with chronic
illnesses, as he believed that adaptations may be needed for that population, and that
different scales may produce divergent results (Flanagan, 1982). A subsequent study by
Burckhardt et al (1989) verified the domain structure identified by Flanagan's 1978 study
with an addition of "a concern with maintaining independence" (Anderson & Burckhardt,
1999). A similar item was subsequently added to the scale for the adaptation for
individuals with chronic illnesses independence, or the "ability to do for oneself"
(Burckhardt et al., 2003). Since the adaptation, the QOLS has all but exclusively been
utilized to gather information about people with chronic or incurable illnesses. Utilization
of the adapted QOLS for research has become more common than research concerning
the original scale, and illnesses studied include diabetes mellitus and osteoarthritis
(Burckhardt et al., 1989), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; Burckhardt et
al., 1993), fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS; Anderson, 1995; Neumann & Buskila, 1997),
heart disease (Motzer & Stewart, 1996), and spinal cord injury (Hans, 1995), among
In the past 2 decades, additional QOL scales have been developed. However,
nearly all of these instruments actually measure what Fayers and colleagues (1997a,
1997b) have named causal indicators of quality of life rather than quality of life itself
(Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003).
Some researchers have partially based their central conceptualization and
measurement of life quality on symptoms of specific diseases (Laborde & Powers, 1980,
Ferrans, 1990, Ferrell et al 1992). Albeit the fact that when several researchers have
asked participants with various physical ailments about the meaning of quality of life, the
same types of responses are elicited as those obtained from more general populations
(Padilla et al., 1990, Ferrell et al., 1992, Drummond, 1995), the disproportionately large
amount of QOL research concerning people with illnesses far outweighs the amount of
current research on the QOL of people without chronic illnesses. Many theorists have
recently argued that the QOLS should be expanded to include the absence of physical or
mental illnesses (Zullig, 2005), which indicates the possibility that the adapted QOLS has
become so popular that some are unaware that the initial scale, before the adaptation, was
designed to examine populations devoid of illness. It seems apparent that more QOL
research is needed centering on more general populations.
Life satisfaction. According to Pavot and Diener (1993), "life satisfaction is a
conscious cognitive judgment of one' s life in which the criteria for judgment are up to the
person" (p. 164). Shin and Johnson (1978) defined life satisfaction as "a global
assessment of a person's quality of life according to his chosen criteria" (p. 478).
Increasingly during the past few decades, research has explored subj ective well-being
(SWB; Diener, 1984; Diener & Larsen, 1992), of which life satisfaction is the cognitive
component (Andrews & Withey, 1976). Life Satisfaction was assessed using the
Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener et al., 1985), and this is a currently accepted
assessment tool. The limitation of many other scales used to define constructs such as life
satisfaction is that the authors of the scales weight different aspects of life such as wealth
or recreation. According to Diener (1985), "the judgment of how satisfied people are with
their present state of affairs is based on a comparison with a standard which each
individual sets for him or herself; it is not externally imposed" (p. 71). The SWLS is
superior to other measures in that it allows respondents, instead of researchers, to weight
aspects of their own lives and in terms of their own values to achieve a global view of
their individual life satisfaction.
The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to expand the knowledge base
concerning general mood, life satisfaction, and quality of life by comparing individuals'
optimism levels with self-reported life satisfaction and quality of life, using a sample
population of undergraduate students at a large southeastern university. The independent
variable was individuals' optimism and pessimism scores using the LOT, and the
dependent variables were scores on the SWLS and the QOLS.
It was hypothesized by the researcher that participants who fall into the "optimism"
category according to the LOT would score higher on the QOLS, therefore exhibiting a
higher QOL. Optimists were also hypothesized to score higher on the SWLS, exhibiting
a more subj ectively satisfying life, than would participants falling into the "pessimism"
The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin,
1985), the Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier & Carver, 1985), and the Quality-of-life
Scale (QOLS; Flanagan, 1978) was administered to undergraduate students at a large
southeastern university to measure optimism, life satisfaction, and quality of life. A
quasi-experimental design was used to estimate the relationship of the scores from the
LOT as the independent variable with scores from the SWLS and the QOLS as dependent
Participants and Setting
Undergraduate students at a large southeastern university were recruited
subsequent to requests made by the researcher. The study obtained 367 participants total.
One hundred thirty-seven males and 231 females participated in the study. A small
percentage of extra credit for classes was awarded to undergraduate students who
participated in the study, as a part of optional extra credit points allotted by the instructor
for participation in various types of community service and/or research. Cohen's
statistical power analysis was calculated and revealed an adequate sample size (Cohen,
The measures were given in classrooms and offices within the university.
Surveys were completed individually. Both male and female participants were included
in the study, and the ages of participants ranged from 18 to 60 years.
Upon receiving approval from the University's Institutional Review Board,
participants were contacted by the researcher and invited to participate in the study. Prior
to receiving the scales, each participant was given an informed consent for and asked to
carefully read and sign.
The LOT, SWLS, and QOLS were combined into a paper-and-pencil survey that
was photocopied and distributed by the researcher to subj ects, with the order of the scales
being randomized. Briefing instructions for the participants regarding the completion of
the scales was written on the cover page of each copy as well as presented verbally prior
to beginning the survey. In addition, a short demographic questionnaire was included to
gather information pertaining to age, education level, gender, and occupation. The survey
took between 10 minutes and 20 minutes to complete. Upon completion of the survey,
participants were debriefed by the researcher in the form of a written letter.
Dispositional optimism and pessimism was measured using the Life Orientation
Test (LOT; Scheier & Carver, 1985). Satisfaction with the participant's life as a whole
was measured using the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener et al., 1985). The
participants' self-reported quality of life was measured using the Quality-of-life Scale
(QOLS; Flanagan, 1978).
Life Orientation Test (LOT)
The LOT was administered to measure each participant' s dispositional optimism as
well as pessimism by assessing generalized positive outcome expectancies (Scheier &
Carver, 1985). There are 12 total items, with four counting towards optimism, four
counting towards pessimism, and four filler items (Table 1). Responses range from "I
agree a lot" to "I disagree a lot" on a 5-point Likert scale. Items scoring pessimism are
scored in the same direction as optimism items, therefore when scoring high pessimism
scores will indicate low actual pessimism. Using the LOT, optimism and pessimism are
considered two separate constructs, so an individual will have an optimism score and a
pessimism score, with predetermined scores delineated by the author of the scale
discerning whether an individual is considered an "optimist" or a "pessimist" (Scheier &
Carver, 1985). LOT has been found to show predictive validity and to be a "viable
instrument for assessing people' s generalized sense of optimism" (Scheier et al., 1994, p.
Table 1: Life Orientation Test categories (Scheier & Carver, 1985)
"I'm always optimistic about my future."
"In uncertain times, I usually expect the best."
"I always look on the bright side of things."
"I'm a believer in the idea that 'every cloud has a silver lining.'"
Pessinsisn; (reverse- scored)
"If something can go wrong for me, it will."
"I hardly every expect things to go my way."
"I rarely count on good things happening to me."
"Things never work out the way I want them to."
"It' s easy for me to relax."
"I enj oy my friends a lot."
"It' s important for me to keep busy."
"I don't get upset too easily."
Terrill et al (2002) found the LOT to provide "a viable measure of optimism" (p.
560). Internal consistency, temporal stability, and convergent and discriminant validity
have been supported by internal validation studies (Scheier & Carver, 1985), as the LOT
related, though did not appear to be redundant, with self-report measures of social
anxiety, alienation, perceived stress, depression, hopelessness, self-esteem, and
internality (Terrill et al., 2002).
Quality-Of-Life Scale (QOLS)
The QOLS was administered to measure each participant' s self-perceived quality of
life, by measuring fiye conceptual domains of quality of life; material and physical well-
being, relationships with other people, social, community, and civic activities, personal
development and fulfillment, and recreation (Table 2). There are 15 items in the QOLS,
and responses are reported by a seven-point Likert scale, ranging from "delighted" to
"terrible." The QOLS is scored by adding up the score on each item to yield a total score
for the instrument. Scores can range from 16 to 112, with a higher score indicating a
higher quality of life (Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003).
Internal consistency and high test-retest reliability for the QOLS with general
populations has been recorded in the first studies using the scale as well as subsequent
studies (Burckhardt, 1989). Convergent and discriminant construct validity in chronic
illness groups have been demonstrated using the Life Satisfaction Index-Z and the
Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales, and Burckhardt and colleagues later offered
evidence that the QOLS was valid in different populations, including healthy as well as
chronically ill adults (Burckhardt et al 1989, Meenan et al, 1980). The QOLS has been
used in studies of healthy adults and patients with rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastrointestinal disorders, cardiac disease, spinal
cord injury, psoriasis, urinary stress incontinence, posttraumatic stress disorder, and
diabetes (Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003).
Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS)
The SWLS was administered to assess each participant' s "overall judgment of their
life in order to measure the concept of life satisfaction" (Diener et al., 1985, pp. 71-72).
The SWLS is a 5-item, 7-point Likert scale ranging from "delighted" to "terrible"(Diener
et al, 1985). Responses range from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree" on a 7-point
Likert scale. Scores are added, and the sum represents the degree of life satisfaction
After a factor analysis was completed, criterion validity coefficients were obtained
to determine a life satisfaction rating. Diener et al. (1985) found that "the item total
correlations for the five SWLS items (.81, .63, .61, .75, and .66) showed a good level of
internal consistency for the scale" (p. 74). Furthermore, the SWLS (Diener et al., 1985)
"shows discriminant validity from emotional well-being measures" (Pavot & Diener,
1993, p. 164).
Table 2: Quality of life categories in five domains (Flanagan 1978)
Physical and material well-being
Material well-being and financial security
Health and personal safety
Relations with other people
Relations with spouse
Having and raising children
Relations with parents, siblings or other relatives
Relations with friends
Social, community and civic activities
Activities related to helping or encouraging other people
Activities relating to local and national governments
Personal development and fulfillment
Personal understanding and planning
Creativity and personal expression
Passive and observational recreational activities
Active and participatory recreational activities
Table 3: SWLS score ranges (Diener et al., 1985)
31-35 Extremely Satisfied
21-25 Slightly Satisfied
15-19 Slightly Dissatisfied
5-9 Extremely Dissatisfied
When initially determining the distinction between optimistic participants and
pessimistic participants using their scores on the LOT, a quartile split was performed to
clearly delineate the separation in scores. Only the first (optimistic) and fourth
(pessimistic) quartiles were used in order to include clearly identifiable optimists and
pessimists, and therefore avoid confusion stemming from similar, more centralized
A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted using scores on the
LOT as independent variables, and using the QOL subscales as well as the SWLS as
dependent variables. Simple effects tests with Bonferroni corrected alpha levels were
used to evaluate significant interactions. Furthermore, since quality of life has been
defined in previous research in terms of life satisfaction (Burckhardt, 1985, Ferrans &
Powers 1985, Sexton & Munro 1988), the SWLS served as a convergence test for the
QOLS. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were used to correlate between
the SWLS with scores from the QOLS.
Finally, internal consistency of the LOT, as well as individual group scores on the
LOT and the SWLS, were estimated using alpha reliability (Chronbach, 1951). All
statistical analyses were run with the significance value set at p = .05. The Statistical
Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was utilized for the analyses of data in this study.
The scores from the QOL subscales (physical and material well-being, relations
with other people, social, community and civic activities, personal development and
fulfillment, and recreation) as well as SWLS scores were used as the dependent variables
when comparing differences in the mean scores for optimists and pessimists. According
to the assumption of homogeneity of variance, the variances of the dependent variables
should not be significantly different across both levels of the independent variable
(Grimm, 1993). No significant (p > .05) difference was found in the variances for
optimists or pessimists for any of the dependent variables; therefore the assumption for
homogeneity was met. Box's M test was performed with results being insignificant at the
.01 level. There were no significant gender differences [Wilk' s A = .93, F (5,
185) = 2.79, p >.01]. After the quartile split, 97 optimists and 96 pessimists were
discovered, with 69 being male and 124 being female (N = 193; Table 4). The results of
between subj ect analyses revealed that optimists scored higher on the QOLS subscale of
personal development and fulfillment [rl = .05, F (1, 192) = 10.03, p <.01] and on the
SWLS [r = .09, F (1, 192) =18.14, p <.01].
As for the MANOVA, there was a main effect for optimism [Wilk's A = .89, F (5,
185) = 4.71, p <.01]. The QOLS sub scale of physical and material well-being was
dropped from the main analysis because it had questionable reliability (a = .67).
Participants classified as optimists scored higher for the QOLS subscale of personal
development and fulfillment (a = .78), and recreation (a = .73), as well as for the SWLS
(a = .89). The other sub scales of the QOLS were not significant.
A positive correlation was found between satisfaction with life as measured by the
SWLS and quality of life as assessed by the QOLS, which was significantly (r = .551,
r2 = .304, p < .01) greater than zero (Table 5). The quality of life score from the QOLS
explained 30% of the variability in the SWLS scores.
The internal consistency reliability of both the LOT and the SWLS were examined
using alpha reliability (Chronbach, 1951). The overall alpha reliability scores for the LOT
and the SWLS were .842 and .902, respectively. Separate alpha reliability scores for
optimists (n=97) and pessimists (n=96), as well as individual group optimism differences
were also calculated. The alpha reliability scores were .820 (LOT-determined optimists)
and .859 (LOT-determined pessimists).
Table 4: Descriptive Statistics
Gender Optimist or Mean Standard N
Male Optimist 5.30 1.27 34
Personal Pessimist 5.03 1.28 35
Development Total 5.16 1.28 69
and Female Optimist 5.76 1.05 63
Fullfillment Pessimist 5.01 0.84 61
Total 5.39 1.02 124
Total Optimist 5.60 1.15 97
Pessimist 5.02 1.01 96
Total 5.31 1.12 193
Male Optimist 26.79 6.67 34
Satisfaction Pessimist 22.40 7.77 35
With Life Total 24.57 7.53 69
Scale Female Optimist 28.51 6.33 63
Pessimist 24.67 5.49 61
Total 26.62 6.22 124
Total Optimist 27.91 6.47 97
Pessimist 23.84 6.47 96
Total 25.89 6.77 193
Table 5: Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients for the Relationship of
QOLS and SWLS (N = 367)
QOLS- .551(p <.05)
This study was conducted to determine whether individuals classified as optimists
would correspondingly self-report higher quality of life and life satisfaction scores than
would pessimists. Optimism, or "the inclination to expect favorable life outcomes"
(Marshall et al., 1992, p. 1067), was measured by the Life Orientation Test (LOT;
Scheier & Carver, 1985). Quality of life, or an individual's judgment of whether his or
her personal life aspirations and achievements are being realized, was assessed using
Flanagan's Quality-of-life Scale (QOLS; 1978). Satisfaction with life, or "a global
assessment of a person's quality of life according to his chosen criteria" (Shin & Johnson,
1978, p. 478), was determined using the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener et
It was hypothesized that participants who fell into the "optimism" category
according to the LOT would exhibit a higher quality of life evidenced by higher scores on
the QOLS, and that optimistic participants would also report a higher satisfaction with
life through higher scores on the SWLS, than would participants who fell into the
"pessimism" category. This hypothesis was supported in the study, with optimists scoring
significantly higher than pessimists on both the SWLS and the QOLS subscale of
personal development and fulfillment. There were no significant differences in optimism
scores related to the gender, weekly activity level, or age of participants. This finding
corresponds with other studies concerning various measures of individual's content or
happiness compared with optimism, in which optimism tends to correlate with better
coping styles, as well as higher levels of overall psychological and physical well-being
(Myers & Steed, 1998),
An interesting finding in the current study was the generally high level of
optimism, life satisfaction, and quality of life in the sample, made up of undergraduate
college students. This corresponds with a 1998 study by Bailey & Miller, where it was
determined that the maj ority of college students in a sample of n = 243 were generally
satisfied with their lives, and with Moller' s 1996 study, in which "twice as many students
described themselves as satisfied rather than dissatisfied with their lives" (p. 21).
However, the mean QOLS score for optimists, which was higher, was only 84.13, which
is less than the normal healthy population's score of 90, especially considering that many
quality of life instruments tend to have negatively skewed means with most patients
reporting some degree of satisfaction across domains (Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003).
Limitations. The current study did contain some limitations, one of which was the
population that the sample was taken from. Participants consisted of undergraduate
students at a large southeastern university. The Eindings from this study may not be
generalizable to other populations and/or other geographical areas. There are also
questions on the QOLS that may not pertain to this population, such as questions
concerning relationships with children and spouse. Another possible limitation concerns
the use of the LOT to measure optimism. There have been criticisms of the LOT
describing its effects to positive response bias (Scheier et al., 1994), and researchers have
also found that the LOT may be confounded with neuroticism or negative affectivity
(Terrill et al., 2002). It is possible that more research needs to be undertaken concerning
the LOT's applicability and that it may need to be improved over time in order to quell
the skepticism voiced by researchers. In addition, this study has a possible limitation
stemming from the nature of the Likert scales used in the scales for the current study. The
Likert scale for the LOT is labeled in the opposite direction (1-delighted; to
5-dissatisfied) compared to the SWLS (1-strongly disagree; 7-strongly agree) and the
QOLS (1-terrible; 7-delighted). There is a possibility that this could cause confusion for
participants completing this particular combination of measures as a result of the varying
It seems fitting that having a more joyful outlook on the world would serve to
improve the quality of life and satisfaction with life. Because quality of life seems to be a
concept that overlaps from the psychological arena into the more medical one, it is
interesting to note that the results provided in this study may be worth studying from a
more medical and purely physical standpoint.
The possible implications of this study could be expanded upon to quite a large
degree. It seems that in recent years, a more holistic view of mental as well as physical
health has begun to come into the limelight of modern living. If it could be clearly
determined that having a more subj ectively positive or optimistic outlook on one' s life
could unwaveringly improve an individual's overall health and wellness, the next logical
step seems to be discovering whether it is possible to alter an individual's outlook to
become more positive, and if so, how that is to be effectively undertaken, in order to
improve the human experience.
This study hypothesized that optimists would report a better quality of life and
satisfaction with life than pessimists would report. The population consisted of
undergraduate students at a large southeastern university, comprised of 135 males and
231 females. The Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier & Carver, 1985) was used to
determine optimists and pessimists, quality of life was measured by the Quality-of-life
Scale (QOLS; Flanagan, 1978), and life satisfaction was measured using the Satisfaction
With Life Scale (SWLS; Diener et al., 1985).
The LOT, QOLS, and SWLS were combined into a paper-and pencil survey and
administered to 367 students. After entering LOT scores, a quartile split was performed,
with the outer quartiles representing optimism and pessimism so to avoid ambiguous
separations between the two groups, that could potentially have arisen considering the
original scale' s cutoff of one point between the two groups. The results of this study
supported the hypothesis by indicating that individuals who were identified as optimists
did have higher self-reported quality of life scores as well as life satisfaction scores than
did individuals identified as pessimists.
The results of the current study supported the notion that optimists enj oy their lives
more that pessimists do. Optimists scored higher on measures of life satisfaction and
quality of life. These findings help to further expand the views of psychological
constructs such as optimism and pessimism into more applicable ideals. This study
clearly demonstrates that there is a correlation between perceptions and quality of life, as
well as life satisfaction.
Implications for Future Research. Future research should be undertaken in order
to expand the general knowledge on how outlook affects the human experience. The LOT
has received criticisms concerning its susceptibility to positive response bias (Scheier et
al., 1994), so more research should be amassed to confirm its reliability as well as
validity. In addition, similar research should be undertaken for other populations, so
findings can become more generalizable.
Please Read This Entire Document Carefully Before Agreeing to Participate
TO: All Research Participants
FROM: Charis M. Brown
RE: Informed Consent
Study Title: Do Optimists Actually Have Better Lives? A Quasi-Experimental Optimism, Life
Satisfaction, and Quality of Life Study
Purpose of the study: The purpose of this study will be to expand the knowledge base concerning general
mood, life satisfaction, and quality of life by comparing individuals' optimism levels with self-reported life
satisfaction and quality of life.
What you will be asked to do: If you agree to participate in the study, you will be asked to participate in 3
surveys that will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your answers on the survey will be kept
completely confidential to the extent permitted by law.
Time required: Approximately 10 minutes.
Risks and Benefits: There are no risks expected from participating in this study. A benefit in the form of
class extra credit may be awarded by your instructor/professor if appropriate. If so, you will be informed by
your instructor prior to participating in the study.
Compensation: No compensation will be provided.
Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your
information will be assigned a code number, and individuals will not be identified by name but by the
assigned code number. The list connecting your name to this number along with all data will be kept
in a locked file in my faculty supervisor's office. When the study is complete and the data have been
analyzed, the list will be destroyed. Your name will not be used in any report, and the data analysis is
Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty
for not participating.
Right to withdraw: You have the right to withdraw from this study at any time without consequence.
Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Charis M. Brown, B.S., Masters Student,
Department of Health Education and Behavior, 110 Florida Gym, Box 118207, Gainesville, FL,
32611, 359-0580 x1374.
Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250,
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; ph 392-0433.
Study Supervisor: Christine Boyd Stopka, Associate Professor, Department of Health Education and
Behavior, 100 Florida Gym, Box 118210, Gainesville, FL, 32611-8210, phone-392-0583 x1259,
I have read the procedure above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have
received a copy of this description.
Principal Investigator: Date:
1. Please indicate your gender.
2. Please indicate the age range in which you fall.
Under21 21-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 +
3. Please indicate approximately how often you engage in at least 30 minutes of
moderate physical activity per week.
Less than 1 1-3 4-6 7 +
4. Please indicate which college your maj or is currently a part of.
Agricultural and Life Sciences Business Administration
Design, Construction and Planning Dentistry
Fine Arts Health and Human Performance
Journalism and Communications Law
Liberal Arts and Sciences Medicine
Public Health and Health Professions Veterinary Medicine
LIFE ORIENTATION TEST
Indicate the degree to which each of the items represents your feelings according to the
3 Mostly Satisfied
1. I'm always optimistic about my future. 1 2 3 4 5
2. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I always look on the bright side of things 1 2 3 4 5
4. If something can go wrong for me, it will. 1 2 3 4 5
5. It's easy for me to relax. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I hardly ever expect things to go my way. 1 2 3 4 5
7. I enj oy my friends a lot. 1 2 3 4 5
8. It's important for me to keep busy. 1 2 3 4 5
9. I rarely count on good things happening to me. 1 2 3 4 5
10. I'm a believer in the idea that "every cloud has a silver 1 2 3 4 5
11. I don't get upset too easily. 1 2 3 4 5
12. Things never work out the way I want them to. 1 2 3 4 5
Please read each item and circle the number that best describes how satisfied you are at
this time. Please answer each item even if you do not currently participate in an activity
or have a relationship. You can be satisfied or dissatisfied with not doing the activity or
having the relationship.
5 Mostly Satisfied
1. Material comforts home, food, conveniences, financial
2. Health being physically fit and vigorous
3. Relationships with parents, siblings & other relatives-
communicating, visiting, helping
4. Having and rearing children
5. Close relationships with spouse or significant other
6. Close friends
7. Helping and encouraging others, volunteering, giving
8. Participating in organizations and public affairs
9. Learning- attending school, improving understanding,
getting additional knowledge
10. Understanding yourself knowing your assets and
limitations knowing what life is about
11. Work job or in home
12. Expressing yourself creatively
13. Socializing meeting other people, doing things, parties,
14. Reading, listening to music, or observing entertainment
15. Participating in active recreation
1 2 34 567
1 2 34 567
SATISFACTION WITH LIFE SCALE
Below are five statements that you may agree or disagree with. Using the 1 7 scale
below indicate your agreement with each item by circling the appropriate number. Please
be open and honest in your responding.
7 Strongly agree
5 Slightly agree
4 Neither agree nor disagree
3 Slightly disagree
1 Strongly disagree
1. In most ways my life is close to my ideal. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. The conditions of my life are excellent. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I am satisfied with my life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
LIST OF REFERENCES
Anderson, K. (1995). The effect of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on quality of
life. Research in Nursing and Health, 18, 547-556.
Anderson, K., Burckhardt, C. (1999). Conceptualization and measurement of quality of
life as an outcome variable for health care intervention and research. Journal ofAdvanced
Nursing, 29(2), 298-306.
Andrews, F., and Crandall, R. (1976). The validity of measures of self-reported well-
being. Social Indicator Research, 3, 1-19.
Andrews, F., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators ofwell-being: Anzerica's
perception of hife quality. New York: Plenum Press.
Archenholtz, B., Burckhardt, C., & Segesten K. (1999). Quality of life of women with
systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis: Domains of importance and
dissatisfaction. Quality of Life Research, 8, 411-416.
Aspinwall, S., & Taylor, S. (1992). Modeling cognitive adaptation: A clinical
investigation of the impact of individual differences and coping, adjustment, and
performance. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 71(3), 989-1003.
Bailey, R., & Miller, C. (1998). Life Satisfaction and Life Demands in College Students.
Social Behavior and Personality, 26(1), 51-56.
Bowling, A. ( 1997). Measuring Health. A Review of Quality of Life M~easurement Scales.
Buckingham: Open University Press.
Bradbury, V., & Catanzaro, M. (1989). The quality of life in a male population suffering
from arthritis. Rehabilitation and Nursing, 14, 187-190.
Burckhardt, C. (1985). The impact of arthritis on quality of life. Nursing Research, 34,
Burckhardt, C., & Anderson, K. (2003). The quality of life scale (QOLS): Reliability,
validity, and utilization. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1, 60.
Burckhardt, C., Anderson, K., Archenholtz, B., & Hagg, O. (2003). The Flanagan quality
of life scale: Evidence of construct validity. Health and Quality of Life
Outcomes, 1, 60.
Burckhardt, C., Archenholtz, B, & Bjelle A. (1992). Measuring quality of life of women
with rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus: A Swedish version of the
quality of life scale (QOLS). Scandinavian Journal ofRheunratology, 21, 190-195.
Burckhardt, C., Clark, S., & Bennett, R. (1993). Fibromyalgia and quality of life: A
comparative analysis. Journal ofRheunratology, 20, 475-479.
Burckhardt, C., Woods, S., Schultz A., & Ziebarth, D. (1989). Quality of life of adults
with chronic illness: A psychometric study. Research in Nursing and Health, 12,
Cantril H. (1965). The Pattern ofHuntan Concerns. New Brunswick: Rutgers University
Cariflo, J., & Rhodes, L. (2002). Construct validities and the empirical relationships
between optimism, hope, self-efficacy, and locus of control. Work: Journal of
Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation, 19(2), 125-136.
Carver, C., & Gaines, J. (1987). Optimism, pessimism and postpartum depression.
Cognitive therapy and Research, 11, 449-462.
Chang, E. (1998a). Does dispositional optimism moderate the relation between perceived
stress and psychological well-being?: a preliminary investigation. Personality and
Individual Differences, 25, 233-240.
Chang, E. (1998b). Dispositional optimism and primary and secondary appraisal of a
stressor: controlling for confounding influences and relations to coping and psychological
and physical adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(4), 1 109-
Cheng, H., & Furnham, A. (2003). Attributional style and self-esteem as predictors of
psychological well being. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 16(2), 121-130.
Chronbach, L. J. (1951i). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests.
Psychonsetrika, 16, 297-334.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.).
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Dalkey, N. C., Rourke D. L., Lewis. R., & Snyder D. (1972). Studies in the Quality of
Life. Lexington: Lexington Books.
DeLongis, A., Folkman, S. (1988). The impact of daily stress on health and mood:
Psychological and social resources as mediators. Journal ofPersonality and Social
Psychology, 54(3), 486-495.
Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575.
Diener, E., Emmons, R., Larsen, R., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale.
Journal ofPersonality Assessment, 49(1), 71-75.
Diener, E., & Larsen, R. J. (1993). The subjective experience of emotional well-being. In
M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds), Hand'book of emotions. (pp. 405-415) New York:
Drummond, N. (1995). The quality of life for asthma patients: a qualitative study. The
Western Journal of2~edicine, 125, 1-2.
Fayers, P. M., Hand, D. J. (1997). Factor analysis, causal indicators and quality of life.
Quality of Life Research, 6, 139-150.
Fayers, P. M., Hand, D. J., Bjordal, K., & Groenvold, M. (1997). Causal indicators in
quality of life research. Quality of Life Research, 6, 139-150.
Ferrans, C.E. (1990). Quality of life: conceptual issues. Seminars in Oncology Nursing 6,
Ferrans, C. E., & Powers, M. J. (1985). Quality of life index: development and
psychometric properties. Advances in Nursing Science, 8, 15-24.
Ferrell, B., Grant, M., Schmidt, G.M., et al. (1992). The meaning of quality of life for
bone marrow transplant survivors. Part 1. The impact of bone marrow transplant on
quality of life. Cancer Nursing, 15, 153-160.
Flanagan, J. C. (1978). A research approach to improving our quality of life. American
Psychologist, 33, 138-147.
Flanagan, J. C. (1982). Measurement of the quality of life: Current state of the art.
Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, 33, 56-59.
Geers, A., Helfer, S, Kosbab, K., Weiland, P., & Landry, S. (2005). Reconsidering the
role of personality in placebo effects: dispositional optimism, situational expectations,
and the placebo response. Journal ofPsychosomatic Research, 58, 121-127.
Gill, T., Feinstein, A. (1994). A critical appraisal of the quality of the Quality-of-life
measurements. Journal of the American M~edical Association, 8, 6 19-626.
Grimm, L. G. (1993). Statistical applications for the behavioral sciences. New York:
John Wiley and Sons.
Hagg, O., Burckhardt, C., Fritzell, P., & Nordwall, A. (2003). Quality of ife in chronic
low back pain: A comparison with fibromyalgia and the general population. Journal of
M\~usculoskeletalPain, 11, 31-38.
Harrington, R., & Loffredo, D. (2001). The relationship between life satisfaction, self-
consciousness, and the myers-briggs type inventory dimensions. The Journal of
Psychology, 135(4), 439-450.
Huprich, S., & Frisch, M. (2004). The depressive personality disorder inventory and its
relationship to quality of life, hopefulness, and optimism. Journal of Personality
Assessment, 83(1), 22-28.
Isaacowitz, D. (2005). The gaze of the optimist. Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin, 31(3), 407-415.
Johnson, J.R., & Temple, R. (1985). Food and Drug Administration requirements for
approval of new anticancer drugs. Cancer Treatment Reports 69, 1 155-1 157.
Laborde, J.M., & Powers, M.J. (1980) Satisfaction with life for patients undergoing
hemodialysis and patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Research in Nursing andI~ealt,
Lazarus, R. (2000). Toward better research on stress and coping. American Psychologist,
55(6), 665-673.Leplege, A., & Hunt, S. (1997). The problem of quality of life in
medicine. JAM~A, 278, 47-50.
Liedberg, G., Burckhardt, C., & Henriksson, C. (2005). Validity and reliability testing of
the Quality of Life Scale, Swedish version in women with fibromyalgia statistical
analyses. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 19, 64-70.
Litt, M. D., Tennen, H., Affleck, G., & Klock, S. (1992). Coping and cognitive-factors in
adaptation to in vitro fertilization failure. Journal ofBehavioral2\~edicine, 15, 171-187.
Marshall, G., Wortman, C., Kusulas, J., Hervig, L., & Vickers, R. (1992). Distinguishing
optimism from pessimism: Relations to fundamental dimensions of mood and
personality. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 62(6), 1067-1074.
Meenan, R., Gertman P., & Mason, J. (1980). Measuring health status in arthritis: The
arthritis impact measurement scales. Aiil l iti\ Rheumatology, 23, 146-152.
Michalos, A. C. (1986). An application of multiple discrepancies theory to seniors. Social
Indicators Research, 18, 349-373.
Moller, V. (1996). Life satisfaction and expectations for the future in a sample of
university students: a research note. Saidrl African Journal ofSociology, 27(1), 16-26.
Morgan, M.L. (1992). Classics of2~oral andPolitical 7heory. Indianapolis: Hackett
Motzer, S., & Stewart, B. (1996). Sense of coherence as a predictor of quality of life in
persons with coronary heart disease surviving cardiac arrest. Research in Nursing and
Health, 19, 287-298.
Myers, L., & Steed, L. (1999). The relationship between dispositional optimism,
dispositional pessimism, repressive coping and train anxiety. Personality andlndividual
Differences 27, 1261-1272.
Neumann, L., & Buskila, D. (1997). Measuring the quality of life of women with
fibromyalgia: a Hebrew version of the quality of life scale (QOLS). Journal of
M~usculoskeletal Pain, 5, 5-17.
Oleson, M. (1990). Subj ectively perceived quality of life. Journal of Nursing
Scholarship, 22, 187-190.
Padilla, G. V., Ferrell, B., Grant, M. M., & Rhiner, M. (1990). Defining the content
domain of quality of life for cancer patients with pain. Cancer Nursing, 13, 108-1 15.
Parkerson, G., Gehbach, S., Wagner, E., James, S., Clapp, N., & Muhlbaier, L. (1981).
The Duke-UNC health profile: An adult health status instrument for primary care.
Medical Care, 19, 806-828.
Pavot, W., Diener, E. (1993). Review of the satisfaction with life scale. Psychological
Assessment, 5(2), 164-172.
Perry, M. (2002). Examining the relationship between dispositional and specific
expectation optinsisn; pessinsisn; and their effects on task performance. Manchester, Saint
Anselm College. (M. A. in Psychology)
Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, E. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life
satisfaction: the full life versus the empty life. Journal ofHappiness Studies, 2, 25-41.
Raikkonen, K., Matthews, K. A., Flory, J. D., Owens, J. F., & Gump, B. B. (1999).
Effects of optimism, pessimism, and train anxiety on ambulatory blood pressure and
mood during everyday life. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 76, 104-1 13.
Revicki, D., Osoba, D., Fairclough, D., Barofsky, I., Berzon, R., Leidy N., & Rothman
M. (2000). Recommendations on health-related quality of life research to support
labeling and promotional claims in the United States. Quality of Life Research, 9, 887-
Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and
implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219-247.
Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1993). On the power of positive thinking: the benefits of
being optimistic. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2(1), 26-30.
Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S, & Bridges, M. (1994). Distinguishing neuroticism (and train
anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the life orientation test. Journal
ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063-1078.
Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., Owens, J. F., Macgovern, G. J., Sr., Lefebvre, R. C.,
Abbott, R. A. (1989). Dispositional optimism and recovery from coronary artery bypass
surgery : The beneficial effects on physical and psychological well-being. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 57 1024-1040.
Segerstrom, S. C., Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., & Fahey, J. L. (1998). Optimism is
associated with mood, coping, and immune changes in response to stress. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1646-1655.
Sexton, D. L., & Munro, B. H. (1988). Living with a chronic illness: the experience of
women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Western Journal of Nursing
Research, 10, 26-44.
Shin, D. C., & Johnson, D. M. (1978). Avowed happiness as an overall assessment of the
quality of life. Social Indicators Researrch, 5, 475-492.
Smith, T., Pope, M. K., & Rhodewalt, F. (1989). Journal ofPersonality and Social
Psychology, 56(4), 640-648.
Tennen, H., & Affleck, G. (1987). The costs and benefits of optimistic experiences and
dispositional optimism. Journal ofPersonality, 55(2), 377-393.
Terrill, D. R., Friedman, D. G., Gottschalk, L. A., & Haaga, D. A. (2002). Construct
validity of the life orientation test. Journal ofPersonality Assessment, 79(3), 550-563.
Turkum, A. S. (2005). Do optimism, social network richness, and submissive behaviors
predict well being? Study with a Turkish sample. Social Behavior and Personality, 33(6),
Wahl, A., Burckhardt, C., Wiklund, I., & Hanestad, B. (1997). The Norwegian version of
the quality of life scale (QOLS-N). A validity and reliability study in patients suffering
from psoriasis. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 12, 215-222.
Wood, V., Wylie, M., & Sheafor, B. (1969). An analysis of a short self-report measure of
life satisfaction: Correlation with rater judgements. Journal of Gerontology, 24, 465-469.
Zullig, K. (2005). Using CDC's health-related quality of life scale on a college campus.
American Journal of Health Behavior, 29(6), 569-569.
Growing up in a small town in Virginia, I seemed to be the resident go-to person
for everyone's problems, hard times, and advice. My interest in the way the mind and
emotions worked followed me up through grade school, along with my passion for
volunteer work and community service.
My interest in individuals' perceptions and subjective experienced led me to pursue
a bachelor' s degree in psychology at the University of Central Florida. During my years
at UCF, I was a research assistant under a swimming teacher, who taught aquatic survival
skills to small children with a wide range of disabilities. I fell in love with that area of
work, and decided to pursue a Master' s degree at the University of Florida, with a
specialization in Adapted Physical Activity. Once at the university, my interests
broadened to a more holistic type of psychological and physical health, which has led me
to have the desire to acquire knowledge on the effects that mental states have on
previously-thought unrelated views of human experience.
I believe that western culture on the brink of a new paradigm concerning the more
internal world as just as important as the external world. My experiences and training at
the University of Florida have been invaluable and I feel incredibly fortunate to have
amassed the opportunities and education that I have received from this program. I look
forward to being able to say that I am a proud alumna of UF, and to carry that with me
into my future, where I hope to be able to give back what has been so graciously awarded
to me by my experiences.