Look on the bright side: Do the benefits of optimism depend on the social nature of the stressor?

Alexandra L. Terrill, John M. Ruiz, John P. Garofalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Growing evidence suggests that a number of personality traits associated with physical disease risk tend to be social in nature and selectively responsive to social as opposed to non-social stimuli. The current aim was to examine dispositional optimism within this framework. In Study 1, optimism was projected into the Interpersonal Circumplex and Five Factor Model revealing significant interpersonal representation characterized by high control and affiliation. Study 2 demonstrated that higher dispositional optimism attenuated cardiovascular responses to a social (speech) but not non-social stressor (cold pressor) task. Optimism-related attenuation of reactivity to the social vs. non-social stressor contributes further evidence to an emerging picture of psychosocial risk as largely reflecting person × social environment interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-414
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular
  • Interpersonal
  • Optimism
  • Pessimism
  • Social
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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