Non-equivalence of direct and indirect measures of unrealistic optimism

Aucote, Helen and Gold, Ron 2005, Non-equivalence of direct and indirect measures of unrealistic optimism, Psychology, health & medicine, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 194-201, doi: 10.1080/13548500512331315443.

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Title Non-equivalence of direct and indirect measures of unrealistic optimism
Author(s) Aucote, Helen
Gold, Ron
Journal name Psychology, health & medicine
Volume number 10
Issue number 2
Start page 194
End page 201
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, England
Publication date 2005-05-02
ISSN 1354-8506
Keyword(s) unrealistic optimism
direct measure
indirect measure
response time
pregnancy risk
Summary Individuals typically believe that they are less likely than the average person to experience negative events. Such “unrealistic optimism” (UO) has been assessed in two ways: directly (via a single question, requiring comparison of own risk to that of the average person) and indirectly (via separate questions about own risk and that of the average person). The study examined the equivalence of the direct and indirect measures of female students' UO for unwanted pregnancy. Participants (N = 120) answered questions about their own risk, that of the average female student, and their own risk relative to that of the average female student; responses and response times were recorded. There was only a moderate association between direct- and indirect-UO. Direct-UO was strongly associated with estimate of own risk, but only moderately associated with estimate of the average student's risk. Response times for the comparative risk and own risk questions did not differ, but participants took significantly longer to answer the question about average student's risk. The results suggest that the two measures of UO are not equivalent, but, rather, that individuals answering a comparative risk question focus mainly on their own risk, at the expense of that of the average person.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13548500512331315443
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, Taylor & Francis Group Ltd
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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