Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Exercise Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Daniel Czech


Mental health is becoming an increasingly important topic within Generation Z. 39% of college students in the United States reported experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety (Burwell, 2018). Conversely, researchers have shown an inverse relationship between high levels of optimism and depression, as well as optimism and suicide ideation (Chang, Martos, Sallay, Change, Wright, Najarian, & Lee, 2016). Additionally, Optimism has been negatively correlated with negative psychological outcomes (Chang, et al., 2016). The purpose of this study will be to examine dispositional optimism within female Generation Z university students. Researchers will use a qualitative interviewing process to capture the full essence of an individual’s experience with optimism by asking the singular question “what does optimism mean to you?” Further probing questions will be asked to gather the most complete and detailed experience from the individual. The interviews will then be analyzed using a phenomenological analysis technique. From this, a thematic structure on the lived experience of Optimism will be created. Discussions of Optimism and future directions of optimism research will take place.

Included in

Psychology Commons