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Optimism Is Associated with Mood, Coping, and Immune Change in Response to Stress

CITATION: Segerstrom, S.C., et al. (1998).  Optimism Is Associated With Mood, Coping, and Immune Change in Response to Stress, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 74, (6), 1646-1655.

ABSTRACT:  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, appraisals, and mood may be important in understanding psychological and immune responses to stress.

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