Exercise Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Daniel Czech


Optimism is defined as an individual’s approach to the expectation that good things will happen in the future and bad things are a rarity. Along with the general definition of what optimism is, many researchers have found that optimism depends on culturally embedded values and beliefs (Singh & Shukla, 2014; Lee & Mason, 2013). In addition, the relationship between optimism and positive health outcomes and well-being is well established (Coll, J.E. & Draves, P. R., 2008; Bastianello, M. R., Pacico, J. C., & Hutz, C. S., 2014). Although this is the case, little research has been found examining the differences between optimism levels in the millennial generation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences between optimism, race, gender, and school classification in the Millennial Generation. The study is designed to be a quantitative, quasi-experimental, cross-sectional descriptive study. A research questionnaire was given to students that contained demographic questions as well as the Life Orientation Test, both of which have been found to be psychometrically valid and reliable. T-tests and ANOVAs were used to determine if significant differences in the demographic characteristic variables were present between gender, race, and school classification. Although there were no significant differences between gender and optimism, there were significant differences in optimism between race and school classification in that African Americans scoring significantly lower than Caucasian Americans and underclassmen scored significantly higher than upperclassmen. Future research on optimism will be discussed.