Effects of optimism on recovery and mental health after a tornado outbreak
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Effects of optimism on recovery and mental health after a tornado outbreak
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  • Alternative Title:
    Psychol Health
  • Description:
    Objective Dispositional optimism, a stable expectation that good things will happen, has been shown to improve health outcomes in a wide range of contexts, but very little research has explored the impact of optimism on post-disaster health and well-being. Design Data for this study come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public health systems and mental health community recovery (PHSMHCR) Survey. Participants included 3216 individuals living in counties affected by the April 2011 tornado outbreak in Mississippi and Alabama. Main outcome measures This study assesses the effect of dispositional optimism on post-disaster recovery and mental health. Results Dispositional optimism was found to have a positive effect on personal recovery and mental health after the disaster. Furthermore, it moderated the relationship between level of home damage and personal recovery as well as the relationship between home damage and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with stronger effects for those with increased levels of home damage. Conclusions The utility of screening for optimism is discussed, along with the potential for interventions to increase optimism as a means of mitigating adverse mental health effects and improving the recovery of individuals affected by disasters and other traumatic events.
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