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Behav Res Ther. 2001 Mar;39(3):255-72.

Is pessimism a risk factor for depressive mood among community-dwelling older adults?

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Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6196, USA.


This study examined two senses in which pessimism might be a risk factor for depressive mood among older adults. The first was that a pessimistic explanatory style would predict changes toward depressive mood when combined with stressful life events. The second was that predictive pessimism, or thinking that bad events will happen in the future, would predict changes in depressive symptoms. We found an interaction between explanatory style and life stressors, but it was the optimists who were at higher risk for depressive symptoms after negative life events. We also found support for predictive pessimism, however, as a predictor of depressive symptoms over time.

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