Optimism and socioeconomic status: A cross-cultural study

James W. Schutte1, John K. Valerio1, Victor Carrillo1
1The University of Texas at El Paso, United States
Cite this article:  Schutte, J. W., Valerio, J. K., & Carrillo, V. (1996). Optimism and socioeconomic status: A cross-cultural study. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 24(1), 9-18.

Volume 24 Issue 1 | e826 | Published: February 1996 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1996.24.1.9

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This research examined the relationship between optimism and socioeconomic status (SES) in a sample (N = 245) of Anglo- and Mexican-Americans. Study I found small but significant correlations between both situational (measured by the Generalized Expectancy for Success Scale-Revised; GESS-R) and dispositional optimism (measured by the Life Orientation Test; LOT) and SES. Correlations were stronger for Anglo-Americans than for the sample as a whole and were not statistically significant for Mexican-American subjects. Study 2 used a purely Mexican-American sample (N = 254), performed exploratory factor analysis on both the LOT and GESS-R, and correlated the rotated factor scores with SES. A GESS-R factor involving themes of social interaction correlated positively with SES (r = .17). Results are interpreted in terms of cultural differences between the two ethnic groups, particularly in light of the collectivist/individualist culture dichotomy.


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