Stability in optimism-pessimism in relation to bad news: a study of women with breast cancer

J Pers Assess. 2005 Apr;84(2):148-54. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa8402_04.


In this study, we investigated the stability of optimism-pessimism in relation to receiving bad news (i.e., positive lymph nodes, more advanced cancer stage) after breast cancer surgery and in comparison to the stability of anxiety and depression level. The women (n = 165) completed the Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Zigmond & Snaith, 1983) at time of diagnosis, 3 months, and 12 months after surgery. Overall, women's optimism-pessimism levels remained stable over the follow-up period whether they received bad news or not. In contrast, women's anxiety and depression level decreased significantly over the same time period with 1 exception. Women's level of depression remained fairly stable among those who received bad news. Optimism-pessimism appears to remain stable over situations as well as time and regardless of negative affects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Postoperative Period
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires