A new measure of children's optimism and pessimism: The youth life orientation test

Sydney Ey, Wendy Hadley, Deanna Nuttbrock Allen, Shawna Palmer, James Klosky, Daneen Deptula, Jay Thomas, Robert Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Background: Optimism and pessimism are positive and negative expectations linked with well-being in adults. Research on the importance of optimism and pessimism in children is limited by the lack of a developmentally appropriate measure of children's expectations. Method: Based upon the Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994), the Youth Life Orientation Test (YLOT) is a sixteen-item self-report measure of children's optimism and pessimism. Results: Reliability and validity of the YLOT was found with 204 3rd-6th graders. Optimism also predicted fewer child-reported depressive symptoms and parent-reported behavior problems assessed three months later. Pessimism predicted more child-reported anxiety symptoms and parent-reported social and academic deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-558
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Children's optimism and pessimism
  • Measure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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