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Fakability and validity of the Life Orientation Test

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posted on 2023-08-04, 14:32 authored by Diana Roscow Terrill

Two studies investigating the psychometric properties of the Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier & Carver, 1985) demonstrate its utility as a self-report measure of dispositional optimism, with two caveats. In Study 1, there were 27 undergraduate students who received special instructions encouraging them to "fake good". These participants scored significantly higher on the LOT than 26 control undergraduate students who received no special instructions. Conversely, despite the special instructions, the "fake good" participants did not score significantly higher on the Gottschalk-Gleser Hope Scale (Hope Scale; Gottschalk, 1974a), a content analysis measure of optimism, than their control counterparts. These findings suggest that the transparent nature of the LOT items provide the potential for its falsification, while the Hope Scale cannot be faked. In Study 2, a multi-trait, multi-method study was conducted with data from 93 undergraduate students to elucidate conflicting findings regarding the validity of the LOT with respect to neuroticism (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994; Smith et al, 1989; Williams, 1992). Results did not reveal the expected association between the two different methods (self-report questionnaires and content analysis scales) of assessing optimism and neuroticism, although the like-method measures were related logically and meaningfully. Potential explanations for the lack of relationship between the LOT and Gottschalk-Gleser's Hope and Anxiety Scales are discussed. Results revealed that the LOT was significantly associated with self-report measures of neuroticism, although it was also related to other self-report measures of optimism/pessimism above and beyond the variance contributed by neuroticism. Findings from these studies suggest that the LOT provides a valid assessment of dispositional optimism, although its potential for fakability, and association with neuroticism require consideration in conjunction with its use.



American University




Ph.D. American University 1999.


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