Positive Illusions

B. J. Fowers, S. Lang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although many theoretical views of mental health hold that accurate perceptions of oneself and one's prospects are essential, recent theory and research indicated that mild positive illusions are normative and related to many indicators of well-being. Individual positive illusions have been documented for overly positive self-perceptions, an exaggerated sense of personal control, and unrealistic optimism. In close relationships, individuals see their spouses and children in an unrealistically positive light as well. Critics have raised many questions about the concept of positive illusions, but the preponderance of evidence seems to support the idea that positive illusions are common and beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780123970459
ISBN (Print)9780123977533
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Control
  • Cultural construction
  • Depressive realism
  • Happiness
  • Marriage
  • Optimism
  • Parenting
  • Physical health
  • Positive illusions
  • Self-perception
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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