Optimism & Health

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Optimism and Health
Melanie Chapman
PSY/220
April 7, 2013
Kathleen Sturgess

Optimism and Health
In this paper we will be discussing the effects of optimism on both physical and psychological health. We will be gathering our facts from two peer reviewed articles that I researched in the University Library.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, optimism is defined as an inclination to anticipate the best possible outcome. In recent times, the theory that optimism can potentially turn your world around in times of need has become more and more popular and more people are taking an interest in the topic. As this theory grows more and more popular, more research is being done to prove that if you carry a positive disposition, it helps to improve your health greatly. The idea behind this is that if you carry a positive disposition and see even a difficult outcome as attainable, then you will continue to strive to reach that goal. However, the same goes if you have a negative attitude about a goal you wanted to reach but think you won’t be able to attain it, because those who have the negative attitude tend to reduce their efforts (Carver, C., & Scheier, M., p. 170).

In a study conducted on 51 middle aged men, all recovering from coronary bypass surgery, a positive disposition on their futures after surgery played a big role in their recovery. Patients provided information in the study three times. The first time was the day before surgery, the second time was six to eight days after surgery, and the third time was six months after surgery. The information provided by the patients included the patient’s rate of physical recovery, postsurgical quality of life, and their mood throughout. Information was also gathered in regards to how the patients attempted to cope with the stress of the surgery. In this study, dispositional optimism helped with both physical recovery times and a faster rate of recovery (Sr., G. M., Scheier, M., Abbott, R., Matthews, K.,...
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