Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Donald Witters

Degree Award Date

Spring 2001


Optimism, Pessimism, Athletic Performance, High School Athletes


Comparative Psychology | Psychology | Sports Studies


The purpose of this study is to examine optimistic and pessimistic views in high school athletes and the effect this view has on their athletic performance. Optimism is characterized as a disposition inclining one to positive expectations. Pessimism is characterized by a disposition inclining one to negative expectations. It is hypothesized that student athletes with an optimistic view will have higher levels of performance throughout the course of the season compared to students with pessimistic views. It is also hypothesized that optimistic student athletes will not decrease in their athletic performance after encountering failure. A boy's high school baseball team and a girl's high school softball team completed the LOT-R (Life Orientation Test-Revised) before the start of their season. Results indicated that optimistic player's performance was the same or better after they encountered failure (loss game). Pessimistic players were found to perform the same or worse after encountering failure. Results also suggest that overall optimistic players perform better than pessimistic players do. Dependent measures were analyzed with a t-test, which compared means of the optimistic vs. pessimistic players on the various performance measures.