Michael F. Scheier

Michael F. Scheier
Carnegie Mellon University | CMU · Department of Psychology

About

205
Publications
356,746
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66,768
Citations
Citations since 2016
27 Research Items
22028 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202205001,0001,5002,0002,5003,000

Publications

Publications (205)
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This collection of first-person accounts from legendary social psychologists tells the stories behind the science and offers unique insight into the development of the field from the 1950s to the present. One pillar, the grandson of a slave, was inspired by Kenneth Clark. Yet when he entered his PhD program in the 1960s, he was told that race was n...
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Introduction: Recent meta-analytic research suggests that the absence of pessimism could be a stronger predictor of physical health than the presence of optimism. The present study examined the role of subjective well-being in the effects of optimism and pessimism on physical health in romantic couples. It was hypothesized that pessimism would be...
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VanderWeele and Kubzansky (2021) provide a commentary on Scheier et al. (2021), in which they introduce the distinction between what they term comparative and absolute optimism. We believe that more conceptual and empirical work is needed before a full understanding of the meaning and implications of the terms can be known. In contrast, the constru...
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Prior research has related dispositional optimism to physical health. Traditionally, dispositional optimism is treated as a bipolar construct, anchored at one end by optimism and the other by pessimism. Optimism and pessimism, however, may not be diametrically opposed, but rather may reflect two independent, but related dimensions. This paper repor...
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Dispositional optimism refers to the generalized and stable expectation that future outcomes will be positive in nature. Ways of assessing dispositional optimism are discussed, and research relating dispositional optimism to physical health is presented. The review highlights the beneficial associations that have been found between optimism and bot...
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Presents an obituary for Charles S. Carver (1947-2019). Carver was known for his pioneering theory and research on behavioral self-regulation as reflected in goal-directed action. Carver has been honored by the American Psychological Association (APA), Divisions 38 (Society of Health Psychology) and 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology)...
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This article addresses how people manage the experience of unattainable goals and protect their subjective well-being and physical health. It is argued that goals provide structure and meaning to a person’s life and that goal attainment contributes to patterns of successful development by facilitating subjective well-being and physical health. Howe...
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Background: Whole-breast irradiation after breast-conserving surgery for patients with early-stage breast cancer decreases ipsilateral breast-tumour recurrence (IBTR), yielding comparable results to mastectomy. It is unknown whether accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) to only the tumour-bearing quadrant, which shortens treatment duration...
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The Oxford Handbook of Human Motivation, Second Edition, addresses key advances made in the field since the previous edition, offering the latest insights from the top theorists and researchers of human motivation. The volume includes chapters on social learning theory, control theory, self-determination theory, terror management theory, and regula...
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Carver and Scheier’s (1990) account of goal striving predicts that unexpectedly fast goal progress leads to reduced effort at that goal (coasting) and to shifting focus toward other goals (shifting). Although these hypotheses are key to this goal-striving account, empirical evidence of coasting and shifting is scarce. Here we demonstrate coasting a...
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508 Background: PBI is an alternative to WBI, with potentially greater therapy (tx) compliance, and better integration with chemotherapy (CTX). NSABP B-39/RTOG 0413 clinical outcome results from 2018 did not show equivalence of PBI to WBI in local tumor control; PBI was statistically inferior, but with clinically small differences. PBI may be an ac...
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Background: Conentional WBI after lumpectomy for early-stage breast cancer decreases ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR), yielding comparable results to mastectomy. Accelerated PBI appears effectie in reducing IBTR by treating only the tumor bed area. As the majority of IBTR occur at or in the icinity of the tumor bed, we hypothesized that P...
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Dispositional optimism is the generalized, relatively stable tendency to expect good outcomes across important life domains. This article provides a representative review of 30 years of research on dispositional optimism and physical well-being. Assessment of optimism is described, along with data regarding its stability. A review of the research l...
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BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to examine predictors of health behaviors over time and the link between health behaviors and survival after a diagnosis of advanced cancer. METHODS Patients with a diagnosis of advanced cancer were administered a battery of questionnaires measuring optimism, depressive symptoms, physical activity, intake of fr...
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Cigarette taxation is an economics-based policy associated with increased population-level quit ratios. However, the estimated effects of tax increase on smoking behavior vary substantially, underscoring the need to identify moderating variables. We examined whether behavioral disengagement the tendency to abandon goals when experiencing stress-mod...
Preprint
Cigarette taxation is an economics-based policy associated with increased population-level quit ratios. However, the estimated effects of tax increase on smoking behavior vary substantially, underscoring the need to identify moderating variables. We examined whether behavioral disengagement – the tendency to abandon goals when experiencing stress –...
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Viewing life as purposeful is a powerful belief: in addition to positively coloring our feelings, it is associated with decreased risk of falling ill, and, ultimately, dying (Kim et al., 2013). Having valued goals infuses life with purpose (Scheier et al., 2006), suggesting that purpose is closely tied to people's self-regulation. According to Krug...
Chapter
Optimism and pessimism – generalized expectancies that the future will be positive or negative – cause broad and diverse differences between people in subjective well-being and how they achieve it. People who are more optimistic cope with adversities by addressing rather than avoiding them and their feelings about them; they engage with and accompl...
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Self-regulation entails attempts to approach desired conditions and escape from threats. We have long argued that these functions, and the affects that accompany them, reflect feedback processes. These processes form a hierarchy of behavioral goals and monitoring functions, with affect playing a key role in priority management. An alternative const...
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Background Optimism and cynical hostility independently predict morbidity and mortality in Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) participants and are associated with current smoking. However, their association with smoking cessation in older women is unknown. PurposeThe purpose of this study is to test whether optimism (positive future expectations) or c...
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Given the known detrimental effects of poor sleep on an array of psychological and physical health processes, it is critical to understand the factors that protect sleep, especially during times of stress when sleep particularly suffers. Positive affect (PA) arises as a variable of interest given its known associations with health and health behavi...
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Optimism is a trait that reflects the extent to which people hold generalized favorable versus unfavorable expectancies for their future. Higher optimism has been related prospectively (i.e., controlling for previous well-being) to higher subjective well-being in times of adversity. Optimism has also been linked to greater engagement coping and les...
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Scientists Making a Difference is a fascinating collection of first-person narratives from the top psychological scientists of the modern era. These readable essays highlight the most important contributions to theory and research in psychological science, show how the greatest psychological scientists formulate and think about their work, and illu...
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Objective: This study examined whether the emotional benefits of dispositional optimism for managing stressful encounters decrease across older adulthood. Such an effect might emerge because age-related declines in opportunities for overcoming stressors could reduce the effectiveness of optimism. Method: This hypothesis was tested in a six-year...
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Two of this chapter’s authors (Charles Carver and Michael Scheier) have used the term self-regulation for well over three decades, after having adopted a viewpoint on behavior that depends heavily on the principles of feedback control. The broad outlines of that viewpoint remain much the same today. However, the state of knowledge in neuroscience a...
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Breast cancer can seriously disrupt a person's important life goals. As such, the ability to adjust one's goals may be critical for well-being. The present study investigated the relationships between disengagement/re-engagement capacity and well-being among women with breast cancer, as well as several potential mechanisms (intrusive thoughts, life...
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We assessed associations between specific personality factors and health, and tested whether specific personality factors were related to health outcomes independent of each other. We performed cross-sectional analyses of personality and health among a sample of community-dwelling older men (n = 613, M age = 81.4, SD = 5.04 years) living in Pittsbu...
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The target article asserts that resilience results from a generalized tendency to appraise stressful circumstances positively. Apparently unbeknownst to the authors, essentially the same idea has been advanced before and studied extensively from a different research perspective. This raises a broader issue: the critical need, when projects attempt...
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The present study sought to identify mediators underlying the effects of an education and a peer support intervention for women with breast cancer and to determine if the efficacy of a peer support intervention is moderated by cancer severity. Participants included 180 patients with early stage (I or II) and 65 patients with late stage (IV) breast...
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Optimism is a cognitive construct (expectancies regarding future outcomes) that also relates to motivation: optimistic people exert effort, whereas pessimistic people disengage from effort. Study of optimism began largely in health contexts, finding positive associations between optimism and markers of better psychological and physical health. Phys...
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Goal adjustment theory identifies two processes that enable a person to adapt to the experience of unattainable goals: goal disengagement and goal reengagement. Components of disengagement and reengagement are identified, and the importance of these components to subjective well-being and health are described. In addition, an individual difference...
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This article addresses how individuals can adjust to the experience of unattainable goals and protect their subjective well-being and physical health. We discuss theoretical aspects involved in the self-regulation of unattainable goals and point to the importance of general individual differences in goal disengagement and goal reengagement capaciti...
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Full-text available
Objectives: This study examined whether dispositional optimism would be associated with reduced levels of cortisol secretion among individuals who perceive stress levels that are either higher than their normal average (i.e., within-person associations) or higher than the stress levels of other individuals (i.e., between-person associations). Met...
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Optimism has been associated with a lower risk of rehospitalization after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, but little is known about how optimism affects treatment of depression in post-CABG patients. Using data from a collaborative care intervention trial for post-CABG depression, we conducted exploratory post hoc analyses of 284 depre...
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!is chapter discusses how people can adapt when goals are unattainable and thereby maintain their psychological well-being and physical health. On the basis of self-regulation theories (Carver & Scheier, 1981, 1998), we argue that the pursuit of meaningful goals provides purpose for living and is an essential contributor to a person’s subjective we...
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This chapter describes a set of ideas bearing on the self-regulation of action and emotion that has been given labels such as cybernetic and feedback control processes. The ideas have roots in many sources, including the concept of homeostasis and attempts to create mechanical devices to serve as governors for engines. With respect to motivation, t...
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Optimism is expecting good things to occur in one's life. Such positive expectations are associated with higher subjective well-being, even under conditions of stress or adversity. In contrast, pessimists respond to adversity with more intense negative feelings. There are also differences in the manner in which optimists and pessimists try to cope...
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For nearly a decade we’ve been studying the personality dimension of optimism vs pessimism (Scheier & Carver, 1985, 1992). Our contribution to the topic of this volume (the organization and functions of the self) is the argument that the personality disposition of optimism versus pessimism has an indelible impact on how the person—how the self—expe...
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The aim of this study was to understand the association between sense of purpose in life and sexual well-being in a cohort of midlife women. Participation in partnered sexual activities and indicators of sexual well-being (the engagement in and enjoyment of sexually intimate activities) were measured in a longitudinal cohort of 677 eligible women a...
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We tested the relationship of objectively measured sleep quantity and quality with positive characteristics of the child. Sleep duration, sleep latency and sleep efficiency were measured by an actigraph for an average of seven (range = 3-14) consecutive nights in 291 8-year-old children (standard deviation = 0.3 years). Children's optimism, self-es...
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We describe here a new test for dispositional optimism and pessimism in young children, the Parent-rated Life Orientation Test of children (the PLOT) and assess its psychometric properties. Two hundred and twenty one mother–father pairs rated their children's (mean age = 8.1, SD = 0.3 years) dispositional optimism and pessimism using a new scale, t...
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Optimism is an individual difference variable that reflects the extent to which people hold generalized favorable expectancies for their future. Higher levels of optimism have been related prospectively to better subjective well-being in times of adversity or difficulty (i.e., controlling for previous well-being). Consistent with such findings, opt...
Chapter
Optimists generally expect good things to happen to them; pessimists expect outcomes that are more negative. This article links differences in optimism and pessimism to the ways in which people cope with stress and explores how these coping differences help to promote the kinds of outcomes that optimists and pessimists receive.
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IntroductionBehavioral Self-regulationOptimism, Pessimism, and Coping with Health ThreatsOptimism, Pessimism, and CopingConcluding CommentAcknowledgments
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IntroductionSelf-Regulation as an Orienting FrameworkSelf-Regulation Models and Stress-and-Coping ModelsDysfunctional Responses to Threat and LossCoping with Chronic IllnessCoronary DiseaseConcluding CommentReferences
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Prior research links optimism to physical health, but the strength of the association has not been systematically evaluated. The purpose of this study is to conduct a meta-analytic review to determine the strength of the association between optimism and physical health. The findings from 83 studies, with 108 effect sizes (ESs), were included in the...
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To examine whether engaging in multiple enjoyable activities was associated with better psychological and physiological functioning. Few studies have examined the health benefits of the enjoyable activities that individuals participate in voluntarily in their free time. Participants from four different studies (n = 1399 total, 74% female, age = 19-...
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Although religions is important to many people with cancer, few studies have explored the relationship between religious coping and well-being in a prospective manner, using validated measures, while controlling for important covariates. One hundred ninety-eight women with stage I or II and 86 women with stage IV stage breast cancer were recruited....
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Occupational Health PsychologyOpen SourceOpen-MindednessOptimismOrganizational PsychologyOxytocinReference
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Optimist are people who expect good things to happen to them; pessimists are people who expect bad things to happen to them. As described in this chapter, optimists and pessimists differ in several ways that have a big impact on their lives. They differ in how they approach problems and challenges, and they differ in the manner--and the success--wi...
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To identify factors that condition or moderate the impact of a previously described set of interventions on psychological and physical adjustment after diagnosis and treatment for early-stage breast cancer. Younger women (age < 51 years, N = 252) with early-stage breast cancer within 2 months of having completed active nonhormonal adjuvant therapy...
Article
a view of certain consequences of anxiety is presented in which anxiety causes an interruption in ongoing self-regulation, leading to an assessment of outcome or coping expectancy / in this theory, people with favorable expectancies return to the interrupted activity, whereas people with unfavorable expectancies experience an impulse to disengage f...
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The purpose of this article is to stimulate discussion and research about patient suffering and caregiver compassion. It is our view that these constructs are central to understanding phenomena such as family caregiving, and that recognizing their unique role in the caregiving experience provides new directions for intervention research, clinical p...
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Three studies examined associations between goal disengagement and goal reengagement tendencies and indicators of physical health (e.g., health problems, cortisol rhythms, sleep efficiency). Based on research showing that goal adjustment tendencies are associated with subjective well-being, the authors predicted that people who are better able to d...
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This article discusses how self-regulatory models can be used to understand people's response to health threats. The article begins with a general discussion of the principles and assumptions of self-regulatory models of behavior. Two distinct lines of research are then presented addressing two important processes of adaptive self-regulation. First...
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Associations between parents' dispositional optimism-pessimism (LOT-R) and their ratings of their children's behaviour were studied prospectively from infancy (M = 6.3, SD = 1.3 months) to middle childhood (M = 5.5, SD = 0.23 years) (n = 212). One parent's higher optimism (overall LOT-R and component score) and/or lower pessimism (component score)...
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Research suggests that presurgical personality attributes influence postsurgical well-being in both patients and their spouses in the context of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. The authors hypothesized that a spouse's characteristics would influence a partner's psychological well-being, regardless of whether he or she was the patien...
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We examined whether dispositional optimism and pessimism (overall LOT-R and optimism and pessimism component scores) of 694 adults aged 24 and 27 were associated with socioeconomic status (SES) measured concurrently and in childhood at ages 3 and 6. SES measures included education, occupational status and unemployment, and income. Concurrent adulth...
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This article addresses the role played by adaptive self-regulation in protecting older adults' psychological and physical health. A theoretical model is outlined illustrating how common age-related challenges (i.e., physical challenges and life regrets) can influence older adults' health. In addition, the proposed model suggests that older adults c...
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Full-text available
This article describes a 6-item scale, the Life Engagement Test, designed to measure purpose in life, defined in terms of the extent to which a person engages in activities that are personally valued. Psychometric data are presented including information about the scale's factor structure, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, convergent v...
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ABSTRACT Wicklund and Gollwitzer make two claims that the distinction between public and private self-awareness/self-consciousness is “Aristotelian,” and that the distinction is fallacious For the distinction to be Aristotelian, as Wicklund and Gollwitzer use that term, requires that the distinction not be embedded in a “process” model of behavior...
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Texas at Austin. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 57-61).
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Two studies examined the associations between life regrets and indicators of quality of life across the adult life span. Given that opportunities to undo regrets decline with age, regret intensity was expected to be inversely associated with subjective well-being and health among older adults. In addition, the research explored protective factors t...
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To conduct a clinical trial to determine if an educational intervention and a nutritional intervention could enhance physical and psychological functioning among younger women completing treatment for early-stage breast cancer. Younger women (50 years of age or younger, N = 252), within 2 months of having completed active nonhormonal adjuvant thera...
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Objectives: Socioeconomic circumstances may have direct impact on health (e.g., through inadequate housing and sanitation) or work indirectly via behavioral and psychosocial characteristics that are deleterious to health. One of the psychological resources consistently shown to be related to health outcomes is dispositional optimism. However it is...
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Three studies examined associations between goal disengagement, goal reengagement, and subjective well-being. In Study 1, 115 undergraduates reported on the extent to which they were able to abandon unattainable goals and reengage their efforts in alternative goals. Study 2 examined the importance of goal disengagement and goal reengagement in grou...
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This paper develops the argument that goal disengagement forms an essential aspect of effective self-regulation. The argument derives from a consideration of processes inherent in the life-span development of the individual, as well as processes inherent in the moment-to-moment regulation of action. Evidence is reviewed to support the idea that goa...
Chapter
Self-regulatory models of personality emphasize the system of goals that make up the self, the relationships among goals at different levels of abstraction, and the processes by which people try to move toward goals and away from threats. Our view is that actions are managed by one set of feedback processes, and that feelings arise from a different...
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This article concerns the relations between personality and quality of life. In the first part, we discuss different conceptualizations of personality and quality of life. We argue that personality affects quality of life by influencing how people approach and react to critical life situations. In the second part, we address the beneficial role pla...
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The purpose of this chapter is to discuss some of the ways in which self-regulatory models of behavior relate to today's understanding of health and illness. The authors begin by describing a set of orienting assumptions and principles embedded in models of self-regulation, placing the heaviest emphasis on their own approach (involving goals and fe...