A new measure for dispositional optimism and pessimism in young children

Sakari Lemola, Katri Räikkönen, Karen A. Matthews, Michael F. Scheier, Kati Heinonen, Anu Katriina Pesonen, Niina Komsi, Jari Lahti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We describe here a new test for dispositional optimism and pessimism in young children, the Parent-rated Life Orientation Test of children (the PLOT) and assess its psychometric properties. Two hundred and twenty one mother-father pairs rated their children's (mean age 1/4 8.1, SD 1/4 0.3 years) dispositional optimism and pessimism using a new scale, the PLOT, including four optimism and four pessimism items. We associated the PLOT with parent-rated self-esteem (Behavioral Rating Scale of Presented Self-Esteem in Young Children), social competence (Social Competence and Behaviour Evaluation Scale, the SCBE-30), psychiatric symptoms (Child Behaviour Checklist, the CBCL) and temperament (Children's Behaviour Questionnaire, the CBQ) of the child. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the mother- and father-rated PLOT revealed a significantly better fit for a two- over a one-factor solution (p < 0.001). The optimism and pessimism subscales displayed good reliabilities, inter-parental agreement and modest to moderate associ- ations, in the expected direction, with the measures of self-esteem, social competence, temperament and behaviour problems. To conclude, the PLOT shows good construct and convergent validity and reliability. The findings encourage its use to assess early emerging generalized expectancies of positive and negative outcomes in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Child
  • Dispositional optimism
  • Parent
  • Psychometric
  • Teacher
  • Test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'A new measure for dispositional optimism and pessimism in young children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this