Optimism is associated with mood, coping, and immune change in response to stress

Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Shelley E. Taylor, Margaret E. Kemeny, John L. Fahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

386 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1646-1655
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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