Optimism and Health

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Topics: Optimism
Optimism and Health Paper
Axia University/University of Phoenix
Cultural Diversity
PSY 220
Julie Delich
November 6, 2010

Optimistic people are said to “anticipate the best possible outcome (Merriam-Webster, 2009).” This statement portrays how optimistic people approach life. Many studies have been conducted to determine whether optimism can actually lead to better physical and psychological well-being. Essentially, optimists are said to see the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. They are able to find something positive in any negative situation that they may encounter. In this paper I will analyze several instances of how optimism can affect both physical and psychological health.
Article One The first article is titled Do Dispositional Pessimism and Optimism Predict Ambulatory Blood Pressure During Schooldays and Nights in Adolescents? This article studies the relationship between low optimism (high pessimism) and physical health. This article states that “low optimism and high pessimism were equally strongly and independently correlated with anxiety, anger, and depression, but high optimism predicted better self-rated physical health and less frequent self-reported doctor visits, whereas high pessimism predicted more frequent self-reports of gastrointestinal problems and aches.” The studies that were performed were based upon the relationship between ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) and the effects of both optimism and pessimism. In the study, 217 participants (healthy adolescents) aged 14-17 were given the Life Orientation Test- Revised (LOT-R) to measure their optimism and pessimism. Their ABP levels were then calculated for a total of two days. The study concluded that those who scored high on the pessimism subscale actually had higher ABP levels while the more optimistic individuals experienced lower ABP levels. High ABP levels can act as a predictor of hypertension and issues with the cardiovascular system. I would say that



References: Merriam-Webster Online. (2010). Retrieved November 6, 2010 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/ Raikkonen, K. & Matthews, K. (2008). Journal of Personality. Do dispositional pessimism and optimism predict ambulatory blood pressure during schooldays and nights in adolescents? Retrieved November 6, 2010 from EBSCOhost Database Feder, A, Southwick, SM, Goetz, RR, Wang, Y, Alonso, A, Smith, BW, Buchholz, KR, et al. (2008). Posttraumatic growth in former Vietnam prisoners of war. Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes 71, no. 4: 359-370. Retrieved November 6, 2010 from EBSCOhost Database

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