Assignment: Optimism and Health Andrea Pulis PSY/220 October 9, 2012 Ratonya Bennett For this paper, I researched two peer reviewed articles which discusses the effects of optimism and psychological health. The first one that I found is called Optimism and Physical Health: A Meta-analytic Review by Heather N. Rasmussen, Ph. D. , Michael F. Scheier, Ph. D. , and Joel B. Greenhuse, Ph. D. It was published in 2009. The second article that I located is called Perceived Academic Control: mediating the effects of optimism and social support on college students’ psychological health by Joelle C.
Ruthig, Tara L. Haynes, Robert H. Stupnisky, and Raymond P. Perry. In Optimism and Physical Health, there was a study conducted to find out the relationship between optimism and physical health outcomes. According to their findings, the data suggests that optimism is a significant predictor of physical health. I would have to agree with this study and I find it validating. One thing that I found interesting in the article was the significance of pessimism and physical health.
We learned from the study that optimism can have a positive effect on physical health but we also learn that pessimism can have a negative effect on physical health. According to the article Optimism and Physical health, “It may well be the case that it is the presence or absence of pessimism that is important in determining physical health outcomes rather than the presence or absence of optimism”(p. 247). What this is telling me is that having the presence of pessimism can have a more negative effect on physical health rather than the positive effect optimism has on physical health.
To summarize, “In general, it is clear from this review that optimism is related to physical health. It is also clear that the link between optimism and health is stronger for subjective health outcomes than for objective health outcomes” (p. 248). This study really shows this information and it can be said that for future studies that they can move past this understanding and do further research. This could lead to what specifically does optimism effect and how to possibly teach those who are suffering physically how to be optimistic.
In the second article I found, Perceived Academic Control, the article discusses the psychological effect that optimism has on college students, particularly freshmen and how they are doing psychologically at the end of their freshmen year. The study assessed year end GPA, stress level and depression level. According to the academic journal, “As expected, optimism and support predicted less stress and depression, yet their beneficial effects were mediated by student’ PAC” (Ruthig, Haynes, Stupnisky, Perry, 2008).
PAC stands for perceived academic control. Having optimism can buffer the students’ for being susceptible to stress and depression and having optimism can protect freshman’s health when facing the challenges of transitioning from high school to college. Think about it, a lot of students decide to leave home to go to college. They will be in a new environment, a new home, new friends, new restaurants, possibly new weather and many other factors. Believing in being optimistic is very beneficial.
I can say from personal experience that I was very pessimistic and ended up dropping out of college after my freshman year because I could not handle it. I never thought positive. I did not believe, expect, or hope that things will turn out well and I did not have the attitude of somebody who feels positive or confident. I think and I know that if I was more optimistic or even possessed a hint of optimism, I would have stuck my years out at college. However, I was so depressed by the end of my freshman year that I could not even think of going back.
I associated that place as negative and I was not going to put myself through it any further. It is safe to say that I believe whole-heartedly that optimism does have a psychological effect on individuals or in particular, on me. Both of these articles bring up how powerful thinking positively can be on individuals. You can always think negatively and think that nothing will turn out well and in fact, it might not. Or, you can be someone that thinks that things will ultimately turn out for the better, that there is positivity out there and that the glass is half full rather than half empty.
I chose to think that the glass is half full. References Ruthig, J. , Haynes, T. , Stupnisky, R. , & Perry, R. (2009). Perceived Academic Control: mediating the effects of optimism and social support on college students’ psychological health. Social Psychology Of Education, 12(2), 233-249. doi:10. 1007/s11218-008-9079-6 Rasmussen, H. N. , Scheier, M. F. , & Greenhouse, J. B. (2009). Optimism and Physical Health: A Meta-analytic Review. Annals Of Behavioral Medicine, 37(3), 239-256. doi:10. 1007/s12160-009-9111-x