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On the relation of optimism and self-esteem to sensual-aesthetic capacity and subjective health
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the present thesis three questions were central: Are high self-esteem individuals more optimistic about the future than those low in self-esteem? Are optimistic, high self-esteem individuals more hedonic or capable of enjoying the sensual-aesthetic aspects of life than pessimistic, low self-esteem individuals? Several measures of optimism and self-esteem were used in four studies. One of the self-esteem scales and one of the optimism-pessimism scales was developed by Wenglert (1980). In three of the studies self-esteem and optimism about one´s personal future correlated significantly. Self-esteem and optimism regarding the world´s future did not, although the correlation coefficients were in the expected direction. Regarding hedonic capacity the findings were inconsistent: in Study 2 self-esteem and optimism were uncorrelated with hedonic capacity but in Study 4 they were related in the expected direction. Thus, according to Study 4, persons higher in self-esteem and optimism are more capable of enjoying sensual and aesthetic aspects of life. In Study 4 optimistic, high self-esteem individuals reported having better subjective health than did those lower in optimism and self-esteem. The results were discussed in the thesis in relation to recent research showing that both self-esteem and optimism are positively related to the strength of the immune system. In Study 3 an optimistic bias for expectancies concerning one´s personal future was observed. It was hypothesized that this bias has had evolutionary benefits. The results of the four studies were related to research on happiness or well-being, as self-esteem, optimism, hedonic capacity and subjective health can be seen as facets of a happy person.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Psykologiska institutionen , 2000. , 64 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7658ISBN: 91-7265-038-9OAI: diva2:198783
Public defence
2000-02-11, Sal U 31, Psykologiska institutionen, Frescati, Frescati hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2000-01-21 Created: 2000-01-21 Last updated: 2010-08-06Bibliographically approved

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