Correlates of Self-Assessed Optimism

Adrian Furnham, Charlotte Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


What are the bright- and dark-side personality trait, ideological belief, and mind-set correlates of self-assessed optimism? This paper reports on four studies, with a total N > 2000. In each, participants rated to what extent they were an optimist on an 8-point scale (high to low). We obtained demographic (age, sex) and ideological (political and religious beliefs) data in each study, as well as self-ratings on four variables (e.g., attractiveness, intelligence) which we aggregated and labelled self-esteem, which had alphas ranging from .70 to .80. We assessed personality, intelligence and other belief systems in different studies. Study 1 showed older, more religious, but less intelligent males with higher self-esteem and Belief in a Just World (BJW) were more optimistic. Study 2 showed older, more religious people, with higher self-esteem were more optimistic. Study 3 showed Open, Extraverted, Agreeable, Emotionally Stable, religious people with higher self-esteem and low on Negative Affectivity and Detachment, but high on Disinhibition, were most optimistic. Study 4 showed older, more religious people with higher self-esteem and lower Dweck fixed personality mindset beliefs were more optimistic. The concept and correlates of dispositional optimism and its measurement are discussed. Limitations and implications are noted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100089
JournalCurrent Research in Behavioral Sciences
Early online date9 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Dispositional
  • Happiness
  • Optimism
  • Self-esteem
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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