Dispositional optimism and coping: a meta-analytic review

Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2006;10(3):235-51. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr1003_3.


The relation between dispositional optimism and better adjustment to diverse stressors may be attributable to optimism's effects on coping strategies. A meta-analytic review (K = 50, N = 11,629) examined the impact of dispositional optimism on coping. Dispositional optimism was found to be positively associated with approach coping strategies aiming to eliminate, reduce, or manage stressors or emotions (r = .17), and negatively associated with avoidance coping strategies seeking to ignore, avoid, or withdraw from stressors or emotions (r = -.21). Effect sizes were larger for the distinction between approach and avoidance coping strategies than for that between problem and emotion-focused coping. Meta-analytic findings also indicate that optimists may adjust their coping strategies to meet the demands of the stressors at hand, and that the optimism-coping relationship is strongest in English-speaking samples.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Set, Psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Temperament*