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International optimism: Correlates and consequences of dispositional optimism across 61 countries

Funder, David C.; Baranski, Erica; Sweeny, Kate; Gardiner, Gwendolyn; Members of the International Situations Project; Funder, David


David C. Funder

Erica Baranski

Kate Sweeny

Gwendolyn Gardiner

Eva Fragkiadaki
Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology

David Funder


Objective: The current exploratory study sought to examine dispositional optimism, or the general expectation for positive outcomes, around the world. Method: Dispositional optimism and possible correlates were assessed across 61 countries (N=15,185; mean age=21.92; 77% female). Mean-level differences in optimism were computed along with their relationships with individual and country-level variables. Results: Worldwide, mean optimism levels were above the midpoint of the scale. Perhaps surprisingly, country-level optimism was negatively related to gross domestic product per capita, population density, and democratic norms and positively related to income inequality and perceived corruption. However, country-level optimism was positively related to projected economic improvement. Individual-level optimism was positively related to individual well-being within every country, although this relationship was less strong in countries with challenging economic and social circumstances. Conclusions: While individuals around the world are generally optimistic, societal characteristics appear to affect the degree to which their optimism is associated with psychological well-being, sometimes in seemingly anomalous ways.


Funder, D. C., Baranski, E., Sweeny, K., Gardiner, G., Members of the International Situations Project, , & Funder, D. (2021). International optimism: Correlates and consequences of dispositional optimism across 61 countries. Journal of Personality, 89(2), 288-304.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 7, 2020
Publication Date Apr 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 8, 2022
Journal Journal of Personality
Print ISSN 0022-3506
Electronic ISSN 1467-6494
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 89
Issue 2
Pages 288-304
Public URL