The motivational benefits of specific versus general optimism.

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This study addresses the question whether a specific, work-related form of optimistic thinking has motivational consequences in terms of work engagement above and beyond general optimism over time. A specific form of optimistic thinking is focus on opportunities. Focus on opportunities is a future-oriented belief that describes how many plans, goals, and possibilities people expect to have in their future at work. Based on a cross-lagged panel design with a two-year time lag and data from a sample of 124 German business owners, results of structural equation modeling showed that focus on opportunities positively predicted changes in work engagement over time, even when controlling for general optimism. This finding supports propositions of social cognition and self-regulation theories that emphasize the importance of a specific form of optimism that has motivating potential by referring to future work goals and opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Positive Psychology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2013
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Business psychology - focus on opportunities, optimism, motivation, Work engagement, cross-lagged panel, business owners