Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_722-1



Dispositional pessimism is understood as a personality trait that is characterized by a habitual expectation of negative outcomes.


I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories.

Woody Allan in “Annie Hall” (1977)

It is difficult to predict future outcomes, and psychological research has shown that there are relatively stable differences in how people imagine the future. Whereas some people primarily focus on negative events that may happen to them, other people tend to look forward to positive happenings. Such negative or positive outcome expectancies are known as dispositional pessimism or optimism, respectively, when they occur on a habitual level (Scheier and Carver 1985). There is a host of research showing that whether people tend to adopt a pessimistic or optimistic outlook...


Defensive Pessimism Pessimistic Explanatory Style Dispositional Pessimism Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ) Pessimistic Thoughts 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BambergBambergGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA