Defensive Pessimism: Definition & Effectiveness
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Norem, J. K., & Cantor, N. (1986). Defensive pessimism: Harnessing anxiety as motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1208–1217. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.118
Spencer, S., & Norem, J., (1996). Reflection and distraction defensive pessimism, strategic optimism, and performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 22(4).
APA. (2020). Pessimism. APA Dictionary of Psychology. https://dictionary.apa.org/pessimism
Gasper, K., Lozinski, R.H. & LeBeau, L.S. If you plan, then you can: How reflection helps defensive pessimists pursue their goals. Motiv Emot 33, 203–216 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-009-9125-5
Lei, Y., & Duan, C. (2015). Relationships among Chinese college students’ defensive pessimism, cultural values, and psychological health. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 29(4), 335–355. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2015.1099516
Seery, M. D., West, T. V., Weisbuch, M., & Blascovich, J. (2008). The effects of negative reflection for defensive pessimists: Dissipation or harnessing of threat? Personality and Individual Differences, 45(6), 515–520. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.06.004
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Author: No Change
Reviewer: No Change
Primary Changes: Updated for readability and clarity. Reviewed and added relevant resources. Added “How Can Pessimism Be Defensive?”, “Disadvantages of Defensive Pessimism”, and “When Can Defensive Pessimism Become a Problem?”. New material written by Eric Patterson, LPC, and reviewed by Dena Westphalen, PharmD.
Author: Renee Skedel, LPC
Reviewer: Kristen Fuller, MD