Pessimism is a personality variable that reflects the generalized tendency for an individual to have negative expectations about the future. Its development emerged along with that of dispositional optimism from models of self-regulation and goal achievement. Originally, pessimism was construed to reflect low levels of optimism, but it has emerged as an independent construct as the field of research has developed and grown. It is associated with a coping style characterized by problem and emotion avoidance coping (Solberg Nes & Segerstrom, 2006). Research suggests a pessimistic orientation places one at increased risk for depression and anxiety. Pessimism has also been associated with several different adverse health outcomes across a variety of settings, ranging from HIV + populations to increased mortality rates in individuals with cancer. The following terms are related to pessimism: defensive pessimism, unrealistic pessimism, and...
References and Readings
- Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2002). Optimism, pessimism, and self-regulation. In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism & pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 31–51). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Norem, J. K. (2002). Defensive pessimism, optimism, and pessimism. In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism & pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 77–100). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar