Optimism as personality trait
. Optimism has been conceptualized as abroad
personality trait characterized by general optimistic expectations (Scheier & Carver, 1985).
Optimistic individuals, during the difficult circumstances, continue to pursue their valued goals
and regulate themselves and their personal states using effective coping strategies so that they
are likely to achieve their goals (Scheier, Carver & Bridges, 2000).Expectancy-value theories
begin by assuming that behavior is aimed at pursuit of goals. The first element in the theory is
the goal which is action, end state or value that people see as desirable or undesirable. People
try to fit their behavior in to what they see as desirable. The more important the goal is greater is
its value in the person’s motivation. Without having
a goal that matters, there is no reason to
act. The second element in expectancy
value theories is expectancy- a sense of confidence or
doubt about the attainability of the goal value. If the person lacks confidence, again there will be
no action. Doubts can impair effort before the action starts or while it is ongoing. Only if people
have enough confidence they will act or keep acting. When people are confident about an
eventual outcome, effort continues even in the face of great adversity. Expectancy based
theories generally suggest that behavior is predicted best when the level of expectancy fits that
of behavior being predicted. Sometimes it is argued that prediction is best when you take into
account several levels of specificity that pertain to the behavior (e.g., action specific, domain
specific and generalized). Many events in life, however, are new, or evolve over time. In such
situations, generalized expectations may be particularly useful in predicting behavior.
Carver and Scheier (2002) argued that dispositional optimism and explanatory style
theories are conceptually linked. However, several researchers caution that casual attribution
and prediction can be unrelated (Abramson, Alloy& Metalsky, 1989). Given these conflicting
views it is necessary to clarify the link between experience and expectations.
The principles that apply to a focused confidence also apply to the generalized sense of
confidence we think of as optimism. When we talk about optimism and pessimism the
confidence is just diffused and broader in scope. When confronting challenge, optimist should
tend to approach it with confidence and persistence. Pessimists should be doubtful and hesitant.
This divergence may even be exemplified when things get difficult. Optimists should assume
that the adversity can be handled successfully, whereas pessimists are more likely to anticipate
disaster. These differences are likely to have important implications for how people cope with
stress (Carver & Scheier, 1999; Carver& Scheier, 1992).
One important issue is that optimism overlaps with the concept of control (Thompson &
Spacapan,1991) or personal efficacy (Bandura, 1986). Both of these constructs have strong
overtones of expecting desired outcomes to take place. However, there is an important difference
in the assumption that is made regarding how the desired outcomes are expected to come to pass.
Self efficacy would appear to represent a construct in which self as a casual agent is paramount.
If people have high self-efficacy expectancies, they presumably believe that their personal efforts
are what will determine the outcome. The same is true for the concept of control(Carver at al.,
2000; Carver & Scheier, 1998). In contrast to this emphasis, the view of optimism construct
always has been that it is broader than personal control. People who are optimistic can be
optimist because they believe that they are immensely talented, because they are hard working or
they are blessed or lucky or have friends in the right places, or any combination of these or other
factors that produce good outcomes (Murphy et al., 2000).
Rois (2009) says that the tyranny of perfectionist positive attitude in the living process
and obsessive eagerness in search for self actualization (Held,2002) is frustrating and may lead
to non realistic kind of optimism, in other words to excessive and obsessive confidence in
oneself. The relevant thing for psychologists is to highlight the agency ability that is to live and
struggle for personal development(Bandura, 2006) and coping strategies. In the present study it
will be observed whether during the course of life people who face hardships become pessimistic
or face the circumstances with courage and hope.
The Macquarie Dictionary(1991) defines hope as ‘an expectation of something
desire accompanied by expectation’.
Loss of hope results in loss of anticipation, desire and
conviction about the future; loss of agility and loss of perspective and purpose in life. Hope is a
strong belief embedded in Pakistani culture. Most people believe that if one door closes, another
surely opens. Theories of hope can be classified as emotion-based or cognition-based. In
literature, hope often is treated as an emotion, a particular feeling that
crucial circumstances. A great deal of research was done in cognitive side of hope.
Erickson(1964) suggested that hope is an element of healthy cognitive development. He defines
hope as "the enduring belief in the attainability of fervent wishes, in spite of dark urges and
rages which mark the beginning of existence"(1964, p. 118).Thus, hope is a concept that
motivates an individual to keep up and overcome all the obstacles finally reaching the goal.
Snyder defined hope as focused thinking in which people perceive that they can generate new
channels which lead to their desired targets and catalyze themselves to survive and succeed.
Hope theory explains the role of impediments stressors and emotions. When ordeals confront
person and hurdles challenge one’s strengths one
perceives the circumstances as stressful.
According to the postulates of hope theory, perception of successful goal pursuit leads to
positive emotions. High-hopers tend to struggle and sustain in the pursuit of their objectives and
eventually achieve their targets. High-hopers have positive emotions; they are zealous, arduous,
passionate as well as confident and witty (Snyder, Sympson, Michael& Cheavens, 2000). Hope
is not just a yearning
some unrealistic and unachievable fantasy
but aspiration accompanied
by reasonable expectation. It is therefore an amalgam of our ambitions and cravings fortified
with our realistic approach and sanity.
Hope and optimism have significant correlations (Peterson, 2000b; Snyder, 2000) with
the current measures of psychological diseases and current depression in particular. These are
predictors of physical and mental health as reported by a variety of measures including
subjective well-being, exuberance, functional coping, health promoting behavior, positive
response to medical treatment, positive emotions and immunological strengths (Peterson,
2000a; Snyder, 2000).
Many researches (
Watson, Clark & Tellegen,1988; Watson, Clark, 1995; Watson,
there are two general dimensions of Affect that influence an
individual’s relationship with their environment
: Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect
(PA). NA describes subjective affliction, agony, oppression and frustration and is composed up
of negative emotional states such as rage, anxiety, hopelessness, self-condemnation, contempt
In Quran it has been said that “turn not your face away from men with pride” (
Quran, Luqman, 31; 18).
Positive affect, in contrast, reflects the co-occurrence of positive emotional states, such as
optimism, vivacity, exhilaration, zestfulness, confidence and agility. People high in PA are
more inclined to feel enthusiastic, active, joyful and alert while experiencing pleasant events
more frequently (Watson et al., 1988). People with high PA view risk related uncertainty more
optimistically (William, Zainuba, Jackson, 2003). It has been suggested that Trait PA is
positively related to extraversion and negatively related to depression, while Trait NA is
associated with anxiety/neuroticism (Clark & Tellegen, 1988). Depression comprises of high
levels of negative affect and also low levels of PA (Watson & Clark, 1995). Psychological
wellbeing is described as cognitive and affective components and is defined as a subjective
global state of contentment and psychological health (Lawton, 1984), with positive and negative
affect as its integrals. Costa and McCrae (1984) also describe positive affect and negative affect
as independent contributors to global well-being and have differential associations with
extraversion and neuroticism. Researches tend to inter-mix the concept of optimism with that of
positive affect. Research on positive affect includes studies using a variety of affect measures
and mood induction.
It has been empirically supported that frequent positive affect is the hallmark of
happiness. Dinner and his colleagues (1991) suggested that the relative proportion of time that
people felt positive relative to negative emotions was a good predictor of self-report of
happiness as compared to the intensity of emotion. They found that optimism is related to
positive affectivity, but independent of each other.
Self-esteem is another integral of positive thinking. According to Maslow (1970), it is an
essential constituent of humanistic positive psychology. Self esteem is expressed as the extent to
which we admire and respect ourselves. People possessing high self-esteem are likely to be
psychologically exhilarated and vivacious(Branden, 1994; Taylor & Brown, 1988). On the
contrary, those who have low self-esteem tend to incline towards desolation and torment(Tennen
&Affleck, 2002).Individuals with low self esteem face more solicitude and depression than those
with higher level of self esteem (Pierce, Gardener, Dunham & Cummings, 1993).Those who
have high self esteem appreciate themselves; they face obstacles and criticism effectively.
elf esteems in Pakistan are getting low as they are under heavy debts of Western
countries, especially that of America.
Sources of Self- Esteem
.Homo-sapiens are the only living species that are
capable of self reflection (Andrews, 1998). This involves a process by which the individual
perceives itself, for which William James (1890) first catogerized
the self as ‘I’ and the self as
‘me’. The self as ‘I’
is regarded as the subjective knower of the self, responsible for notions of
continuity (the self existing over time), separateness (the self as distinct from others) and
reflection (consideration of the self by the self), yet because of its nature has primarily fostered
philosophical or conceptual debate.
The self as ‘me’, in contrast, refers to
objective aspects of
self, reflecting ways people present themselves to others and being more observable. Most of
the research on the self has been done to measure t
he concept of self as ‘me’
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