Effects of optimism, pessimism, and trait anxiety on ambulatory blood pressure and mood during everyday life

Katri Räikkönen, Karen A. Matthews, Janine D. Flory, Jane F. Owens, Brooks B. Gump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

180 Scopus citations


This study tested whether dispositional measures of optimism, pessimism, and anxiety affected ambulatory blood pressure (BP) and mood and whether any cardiovascular effects of dispositions were moderated by mood. Pessimistic and anxious adults had higher BP levels and felt more negative and less positive than did optimists or low anxious adults throughout the monitoring. The few times that optimists did feel negative were associated with levels of BP as high as those observed among pessimists or anxious individuals, regardless of their mood. To the extent that trait anxiety measures neuroticism, these findings suggest that neuroticism is directly related to health indicators rather than simply to illness behavior. Furthermore, the results suggest that pessimism has broad physiological and psychological consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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