Optimism is associated with mood, coping, and immune change in response to stress

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 Jun;74(6):1646-55. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.74.6.1646.


This study explored prospectively the effects of dispositional and situational optimism on mood (N = 90) and immune changes (N = 50) among law students in their first semester of study. Optimism was associated with better mood, higher numbers of helper T cells, and higher natural killer cell cytotoxicity. Avoidance coping partially accounted for the relationship between optimism and mood. Among the immune parameters, mood partially accounted for the optimism-helper T cell relationship, and perceived stress partially accounted for the optimism-cytotoxicity relationship. Individual differences in expectancies, appraisal, and mood may be important in understanding psychological and immune responses to stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Antibody Formation*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Temperament / physiology*