Relations between optimism, stress and health in Chinese and American students

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/280388
Title:
Relations between optimism, stress and health in Chinese and American students
Author:
Song, Zhi Ying
Issue Date:
2003
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Previous research indicates that optimism may have considerable positive effects on mental and physical health. However, only a few previous studies have explored differential effects of optimism on health and none have examined the effects of different levels of optimism. This study supports the importance of optimism on health in a sample of 238 Chinese college students and 206 American college students. Comparative results indicated that there were significant differences on measures of two levels of optimism, pessimism, and indicators of health. In general, American students were found to express more dispositional optimistic belief, better mental health, and lower state and trait stress levels than Chinese students. However, there was no difference in the level of explanatory optimism. In addition, there was no significant difference between Chinese subjects' scores of overall health and American students' scores. Chinese students demonstrate a "middle optimism" style. In addition, both optimistic styles in this study were found to be significantly related to stressful states measured by State Anxiety (Y1) Scale and Trait Anxiety Scale (Y2) in Chinese students. In contrast, in American samples, only the dispositional optimism, the big optimism, was found significantly but negatively related to the trait stress. In this study, the association between optimism and health---either little or big optimism---were not different between the two cultures, while the association between optimism and stress was quite different between the two cultures. In the Chinese students, the association between big optimism and stress was stronger than in the American students. Both moderate and mediate models were tested to clarify some of the mechanism among culture, gender, optimism/pessimism, stress and health. Culture was moderating the relation between optimism (big vs. little optimism) and three health components. Gender on the other hand, had no moderating effect in the relationship of big vs. little optimism/pessimism on any health outcomes. The prediction that stress is the moderator in the prediction of optimism on health was not supported in both cultural groups. However, either big or little optimism were found fully mediated by state or trait stress on overall health conditions as well as the physical and mental health, except that the little optimism was not found to be related to mental health. Among the American students, on the other hand, optimism as dominate predictor directly effected reports of health. Stress was not found to be a mediator in the predictive relationship of optimism and health in the American students.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Health Sciences, Mental Health.; Psychology, Personality.; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.; Psychology, Cognitive.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Psychology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Schwartz, Gary E. R.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleRelations between optimism, stress and health in Chinese and American studentsen_US
dc.creatorSong, Zhi Yingen_US
dc.contributor.authorSong, Zhi Yingen_US
dc.date.issued2003en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractPrevious research indicates that optimism may have considerable positive effects on mental and physical health. However, only a few previous studies have explored differential effects of optimism on health and none have examined the effects of different levels of optimism. This study supports the importance of optimism on health in a sample of 238 Chinese college students and 206 American college students. Comparative results indicated that there were significant differences on measures of two levels of optimism, pessimism, and indicators of health. In general, American students were found to express more dispositional optimistic belief, better mental health, and lower state and trait stress levels than Chinese students. However, there was no difference in the level of explanatory optimism. In addition, there was no significant difference between Chinese subjects' scores of overall health and American students' scores. Chinese students demonstrate a "middle optimism" style. In addition, both optimistic styles in this study were found to be significantly related to stressful states measured by State Anxiety (Y1) Scale and Trait Anxiety Scale (Y2) in Chinese students. In contrast, in American samples, only the dispositional optimism, the big optimism, was found significantly but negatively related to the trait stress. In this study, the association between optimism and health---either little or big optimism---were not different between the two cultures, while the association between optimism and stress was quite different between the two cultures. In the Chinese students, the association between big optimism and stress was stronger than in the American students. Both moderate and mediate models were tested to clarify some of the mechanism among culture, gender, optimism/pessimism, stress and health. Culture was moderating the relation between optimism (big vs. little optimism) and three health components. Gender on the other hand, had no moderating effect in the relationship of big vs. little optimism/pessimism on any health outcomes. The prediction that stress is the moderator in the prediction of optimism on health was not supported in both cultural groups. However, either big or little optimism were found fully mediated by state or trait stress on overall health conditions as well as the physical and mental health, except that the little optimism was not found to be related to mental health. Among the American students, on the other hand, optimism as dominate predictor directly effected reports of health. Stress was not found to be a mediator in the predictive relationship of optimism and health in the American students.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectHealth Sciences, Mental Health.en_US
dc.subjectPsychology, Personality.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.en_US
dc.subjectPsychology, Cognitive.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePsychologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorSchwartz, Gary E. R.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest3107041en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b44666925en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.