Dispositional optimism is a personality trait that defines people who tend to expect the best possible outcome of a situation. A recent study looked at the relationship between dispositional optimism and long-term outcomes after a traumatic brain injury.
The results of the study were that those with an optimistic personality, as defined by the Life Orientation Test-Revised, were less likely to experience psychological distress. However, dispositional optimism was not directly associated with cognitive ability or functional outcome. This was surprising, as psychological distress has been associated with cognitive and functional outcomes in past research.
The researchers suggest that dispositional optimism may be a mediating variable for outcome after brain injury-those who experience less psychological distress may eventually have better outcome after their injury. The outcome of study also highlights the fact that patient optimism alone is not enough to predict a positive outcome.
Ramanathan DM, Wardecker BM, Slocomb JE, & Hillary FG. Dispositional optimism and outcome following traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury. (April 2011).