Expecting the best: The relation between peer optimism and social competence


The present research evaluated the construct of optimism and its relation to children's social competence. An optimism questionnaire was developed that specifically assessed children's expectations with regard to their peer interactions and peer relationships. This measure demonstrated acceptable levels of internal and test–retest reliability and was consistent with a three-factor hierarchical factor structure. After removing effects attributable to grade and perceived self-competence, girls’ peer optimism was specifically and negatively associated with feelings of isolation and boys’ peer optimism was associated with a much broader range of social outcomes including higher sociometric status, more friendships, and lower levels of rejection, victimization, and loneliness. These findings highlight the importance of peer optimism for understanding children's peer relations. © 2006 Taylor and Francis Group, Ltd. All rights are reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Positive Psychology