Factor Structure of the Spanish Version of the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R): Testing Several Models

By Cano-García, Francisco J.; Sanduvete-Chaves, Susana et al. | International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, May 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Factor Structure of the Spanish Version of the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R): Testing Several Models


Cano-García, Francisco J., Sanduvete-Chaves, Susana, Chacón-Moscoso, Salvador, Rodríguez-Franco, Luis, García-Martínez, Jesús, Antuña-Bellerín, María A., Pérez-Gil, José A., International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology


The first references to the study of optimism date back to the modern period of philosophy in the 18th century (Chang, 2001). No comprehensive analysis of optimism took place in relation to works on learned helplessness until the end of the 20th century (Seligman, 1975) and above all, in relation to work on generalized outcome expectancies (Carver & Scheier, 1981; Scheier & Carver, 1985). Optimism is an individual difference variable that reflects the extent to which people hold generalized favourable expectancies for their future (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). Optimism is associated with physical wellbeing, provided it is realistic and translates into healthy behaviour (Peterson & Bossio, 2001). It is also negatively correlated with clinical depression (Leising et al., 2013). At the same time, optimism predicts daily happiness while pessimism is a predictor of daily sadness among patients with chronic illnesses (Affleck, Tennen, & Apter, 2001). Optimism also serves to balance the relationship between negative life events and suicidal ideation and attempts (Lam, Bond, Chen, & Wu, 2010). Optimistic people have higher subjective wellbeing, experience less stress, confront stress more actively and are more persistent in attaining their goals (Carver et al., 2010). They also report greater satisfaction with their lives (Busseri, 2013). In fact, when stress factors are manageable, optimism has been associated with better functioning of the immune system (Segerstrom, 2005).

There have been many different meta-analyses of optimism. Andersson (1996) analysed 56 studies that used the Life Orientation Test (LOT), and found significant effect sizes, relating optimism to coping (.27), symptom reporting (-.23), negative effect (-.43), and depression (-.45). Nes and Segerstrom (2006) examined 50 studies that utilized the LOT and the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R) to analyse how optimism is associated with coping. In general terms, they found that optimism was positively associated with approach coping strategies (.17) and negatively associated with avoidance coping strategies (-.21). Rasmussen, Scheier, and Greenhouse (2009) reviewed studies that link optimism with physical health and found a significant global effect size (.17). For some of the markers, the associations exceeded this effect size, as was the case for cancer outcomes (.27), cardiovascular outcomes, pain, physiological markers (.25), and immune functions (.21).

In terms of the measurement instrument, the LOT was created by the developers of the psychological study of optimism (Scheier & Carver, 1985) in order to measure generalized outcome expectancies. The authors applied an initial set of 16 items to diverse samples of college students, and obtained two factors through the factor analysis of principal factors with oblique rotation. After several revisions of the tool and applications to diverse samples, the tool was ultimately composed of twelve items: four that measured optimism, four that measured pessimism, and four which served as fillers. Over time, many authors have questioned the predictive validity of the LOT with respect to constructs such as neuroticism, trait anxiety, self-esteem, and self-mastery. This led to a revision of the LOT and ultimately, to the development of the LOT-R (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994). In the LOT-R, three of the items included in the original LOT were eliminated, including two that measured optimism and one that measured pessimism, and a new item measuring optimism was added. In the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with varimax rotation, only one factor was obtained. However, the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) revealed a promising fit for the solution of both one factor, optimism (RMR=.012), and for two factors, optimism and pessimism (RMR=.012). The authors opted for a onefactor solution, inverting the scores of the pessimism items to provide a score for dispositional optimism. …

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