Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne C. Segerstrom


Pain interferes with people's daily lives and often limits the extent to which they can pursue goals and engages in activities that promote well-being. The present study test how optimism affects and is affected by pain interference and activity among older women. Every three months for two years, middle- and older-age women (N = 199) complete daily diaries at home for a seven-day period, reporting their daily pain, pain interference, and activity. Optimism was measured at baseline and end-of-study. Multilevel models test the between- and within-person relationships among pain, optimism, pain interference and activity. Pain best predicted pain interference and optimism best predicted activity. Accumulated activity and pain interference across the study predicted longitudinal changes in optimism over two years. Optimism may play a protective role in disruptions caused by pain, leading to decreased pain interference and increased activity. In turn, less interference and more activity feed forward into increased optimism, resulting in a cycle that enhances optimism and well-being among older women.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)