The Optimism measure is part of a larger Optimism/Pessimism Scale which is a self-administered 56-item instrument, 18 items worded in an optimistic direction (the optimism scale) and 18 in a pessimistic direction (the pessimism scale). The remaining items constituted filler intended to mask the intent of the measurement. Statements in the pool of items are varied, with the intent to address optimism and pessimism in three domains: (1) optimism/pessimism as it relates to 18 personal life experiences; (2) optimism/pessimism in regard to the plight of people and the world in general; and (3) optimism/pessimism as it is reflected in the individual’s perceptual/defensive style. The larger Optimism/Pessimism Scale can be found here.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male, Other

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Instructions: The statements printed below represent individual differences in viewpoint. Using the scale shown below, please respond with your own point of view to all of the statements: for example, if you strongly agree with a statement then circle 1 (S.A.).Do not spend a lot of time thinking about each one; just indicate your first impression. Remember, respond to these statements according to how you feel about them right now

1. I like people I get to know.
2. All in the world is a good place.
3. It does not take me long to shake off a bad mood’
4. If you hope and wish for something long and hard enough, you will eventually get it.
5. With enough faith, you can do almost anything.
6. When I undertake something new, I expect to succeed.
7. I generally look at the brighter side of life.
8. I generally make light of my problems.
9.Where there’s a will, there is a way.
10. When I go to a party I expect to have fun.
11. Times are getting better.
12. I expect to achieve most of the things I want to in life.
13. Before an interview, I am usually confident that things will go well.
14. Anybody who is willing to work hard has a good chance for success.
15. Minor setbacks are something I usually ignore.
16. In general, things turn out all right in the end.
17. I can be comfortable with nearly all kinds of people.
18. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Response Options:
Strongly agree - 1
Agree - 2
Disagree - 3
Strongly disagree - 4

Scoring Procedures

Scores are summed, with higher scores indicating more of optimism.

Original Citation

Dember, W. N., Martin, S. H., Hummer, M. K., Howe, S. R., & Melton, R. S. (1989). The measurement of optimism and pessimism. Current Psychology, 8(2), 102-119.

Psychometric Score

Citation Frequency

Ease of Use Score

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)


Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity