ABSTRACT This study prospectively examined the main effect of optimism on subsequent somatic symptomatology as well as optimism as moderating factors in the link between negative life events and somatic symptoms in a sample of 198 (111 females, 87 males) students in a Norwegian senior high school. Results from the longitudinal multivariate analyses, indicated that the scores for optimism and negative life events were significantly associated with scores of somatic symptoms at time-point two (T2). Moreover, a significant Optimism × Negative life events interaction was found in predicting somatic symptoms. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Cite this paper
Murberg, T. (2012). The Influence of Optimistic Expectations and Negative Life Events on Somatic Symptoms among Adolescents: A One-Year Prospective Study. Psychology, 3, 123-127. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.32018.
 Arbuckle, J. L., & Wothke, W. (1999). AMOS 4.0 user’s guide. Chicago: SPSS.
 Aro, H. (1987). Life stress and psychosomatic symptoms among 14 to 16 years old Finnish adolescents. Psychological Medicine, 17, 191- 201. doi:10.1017/S0033291700013088
 Aromaa, M., Sillanpaa, M., Rautava, P., & Helenius, H. (2000). Pain experience of children with headache and their families: A controlled study. Pediatrics, 106, 270-275. doi:10.1542/peds.106.2.270
 Aspinwall, L. G., & Taylor, S. E. (1992). Modelling cognitive adaption: A longitudinal investigation of the impact of individual differences and coping on college adjustment and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 989-1003.
 Boey, C. C. M., & Goh, K.-L. (2001). The significance of life-events as contributing factors in childhood recurrent abdominal pain in urban community in Malaysia. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 51, 559-562. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(01)00232-X
 Brisette, I., Scheier, M. F., & and Carver, C. S. (2002). The role of optimism in social network development, coping, and psychological adjustment during a life transition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 102-111. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.11
 Campo, J. V., & Fritsch, S. L. (1994). Somatization in children and adolescents. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 1223-1235. doi:10.1097/00004583-199411000-00003
 Chang, E. C. (1998b). Does dispositional optimism moderate the relation between perceived stress and psychological well-being?: A preliminary investigation. Personality and Individual Differences, 25, 1109-1120. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(98)00028-2
 Chang, E. C., & Sanna, L. J. (2003). Experience of life hassles and psychological adjustment among adolescents: Does it make a difference if one is optimistic or pessimistic? Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 867-879. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00077-6
 Derogatis, L. R., Lipman, R. S., Rickels, K., Uhlenhuth, E. H., & Covi, L. (1974). The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL). A measure of primary symptom dimensions. Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry, 7, 79-110.
 Dhossche, D., Ferdinand, R., van der Ende, J., & Verhulst, F. (2001). Outcome of self-reported functional somatic symptoms in a community sample of adolescents. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 13, 191- 199. doi:10.3109/10401230109147383
 Di Lorenzo, C., Coletti, R. B., Lehmann, H. P., Boyle, J. T., Gerson, W. T., Hyams, J. S., Squires Jr., R. H., Walker, L. S., & Kanda, P. T. (2005). Chronic abdominal pain in children: A clinical report of the American academy of pediatrics and the North American society for pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 40, 245-248.
 Egger, H. L., Costello, E. J., Erkanli, A., & Angold, A. (1999). Somatic complaints and psychopathology in children and adolescents: Stomach aches, musculoskeletal pains, and headaches. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 852-860.
 Garber, J., Walker, L., & Zeman, L. (1991). Somatization symptoms in a community sample of children and adolescents: Further validation of the children’s somatization inventory. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 3, 588-593.
 Haug, T. T., Mykletun, A., & Dahl, A. A. (2004). The association between anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms in a large population: The HUNT-II study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66, 845-851.
 Lai, J. C. L. (2009). Dispositional optimism buffers the impact of daily hassles on mental health in Chinese adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 247-249. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2009.03.007
 Lazarus, R., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.
 M?kikangas, A., & Kinnunen, U. (2003). Psychosocial work stressors and well-being: Self esteem and optimism as moderators in a one- year longitudinal sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 537-557. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00217-9
 Mosing, M. A., Pedersen, N. L., Martin, N. G., & Wright, M. J. (2010). Sex differences in the genetic architecture of optimism and health and their intercorrelation: A study of Australian and Swedish twins. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 13, 322-329.
 Mulvaney, S., Lambert, E. W., Garber, J., & Walker, L. S. (2006). Trajectories of symptoms and impairment for pediatric patients with functional abdominal pain: A 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 737- 744. doi:10.1097/10.chi.0000214192.57993.06
 Murberg, T. A., & Bru, E. (2009). The relationships between negative life events, perceived support in the school environment and depressive symptoms among Norwegian senior high school students: A prospective study. Social Psychology of Education, 12, 361-370.
 Norusis, M. J. (2008). SPSS 16.0 guide to data analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
 Pedhazur, E. J. (1982). Multiple regressions in behavioral research (2d.ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
 Ryan-Wenger, N. M. (1994). Pychogenic pain in children. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 12, 3-31.
 Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping and health: Assessment and implications of generalised outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219-247.
 Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1992). Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: Theoretical overview and empirical update. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16, 201-228.
 Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Optimism, pessimism, and psychological well-being. In E. C. Chang (Ed.), Optimism and pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 189-216). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
 Skodol, A. E. (1998). Personality and coping as stress-attenuating or amplifying factors. In B. P. Dohrenwend (Ed.), Adversity, stress, and psychopathology (pp. 187-203). New York: Oxford University Press.
 Swearingen, E. M., & Cohen, L. H. (1985b). Measurement of adolescents’ life events: The junior high life experiences survey. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 204-211.
 Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., Bower, J. E., Gruenewald, T. L., & Reed, G. M. (2000). Psychlogical resources, positive illusions, and health. American Psychologist, 55, 99-109.
 Ursin, H., Endresen, I. M., & Ursin, G. (1988). Psychological factors and self-reports of muscle pain. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 57, 282-290.
 Waaktaar, T., Borge, A. I. H., Fundingsrud, H. P., Christie, H. J., & Torgersen, S. (2004). The role of stressful life events in the development of depressive symptoms in adolescence: A longitudinal community study. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 153-163.
 Wagner, B. M., & Compas, B. E. (1990). Gender, instrumentality, and expressivities: Moderators of the relation between stress and psychological symptoms during adolescence. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 383-406. doi:10.1007/BF00938114
 Walker, L. S., Garber, J., & Greene, J. W. (1994). Somatic complaints in pediatric patients: A prospective study of the role of negative life events, child social academic competence, and parental somatic symptoms. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 62, 1213- 1221. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.62.6.1213
 Winokur, M., Winokur, D., Rickels, K., & Cox, D. S. (1984). Symptoms of emotional distress in family planning services: Stability over four-week period. British Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 395-399.
 Ystgaard, M. (1997). Life stress, social support and psychological distress in late adolescence. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 32, 277-283. doi:10.1007/BF00789040
 Ystgaard, M., Tambs, K., & Dalgard, O. S. (1999). Life stress, social support and psychological distress in late adolescence: A longitudinal study. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 34, 12.