Distinguishing Optimism From Neuroticism (and Trait Anxiety, Self-Mastery, and Self-Esteem): A Reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test

Michael F. Scheier, Charles S. Carver, Michael W. Bridges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3576 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on dispositional optimism as assessed by the Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985) has been challenged on the grounds that effects attributed to optimism are indistinguishable from those of unmeasured third variables, most notably, neuroticism. Data from 4,309 subjects show that associations between optimism and both depression and aspects of coping remain significant even when the effects of neuroticism, as well as the effects of trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem, are statistically controlled. Thus, the Life Orientation Test does appear to possess adequate predictive and discriminant validity. Examination of the scale on somewhat different grounds, however, does suggest that future applications can benefit from its revision. Thus, we also describe a minor modification to the Life Orientation Test, along with data bearing on the revised scale's psychometric properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1078
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume67
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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