Objective: The current exploratory study sought to examine dispositional optimism, or the general expectation for positive outcomes, around the world. Method: Dispositional optimism and possible correlates were assessed across 61 countries (N = 15,185; mean age = 21.92; 77% female). Mean-level differences in optimism were computed along with their relationships with individual and country-level variables. Results: Worldwide, mean optimism levels were above the midpoint of the scale. Perhaps surprisingly, country-level optimism was negatively related to gross domestic product per capita, population density, and democratic norms and positively related to income inequality and perceived corruption. However, country-level optimism was positively related to projected economic improvement. Individual-level optimism was positively related to individual well-being within every country, although this relationship was less strong in countries with challenging economic and social circumstances. Conclusions: While individuals around the world are generally optimistic, societal characteristics appear to affect the degree to which their optimism is associated with psychological well-being, sometimes in seemingly anomalous ways.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology