Self-control and optimism are distinct and complementary strengths

Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Optimism and self-control are two traits that have been linked to a wide range of positive life outcomes-indeed, to many of the same outcomes. Does that suggest the two are somehow redundant? In this study measures of optimism and self-control were related to each other and to a set of scales measuring socially problematic tendencies. Optimism correlated only 30 with self-control, suggesting that they are fairly distinct. Both correlated significantly with anger, hostility, verbal aggression, borderline tendencies, and endorsement of a "code of honor." Multiple regression analyses determined that optimism and self-control made distinct contributions to predicting all of these outcomes other than verbal aggression. Findings are consistent with a view in which both optimism and self-control have important self-regulatory functions, but functions that differ from one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-26
Number of pages3
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Hostility
  • Optimism
  • Self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-control and optimism are distinct and complementary strengths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this