Using a cross-sectional survey design, happiness and optimism in relationship to school, type of course and gender were examined in a total sample of 120 male and female, arts and science undergraduates from De La Salle University-Manila and Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The Oxford Happiness Instrument and Revised Life Orientation Test were employed for the measurement of the constructs. No relationships were found with the demographic characteristics (where all ps>.21) but the correlation of the two constructs was confirmed (r=.42). The results of this research may have implications in the fields of psychology and sociology. Attention to more demographic characteristics such as economic status and religion is recommended.
Keywords: happiness, optimism, type of course, gender, institution, education
The study focused on answering two main objectives. One, can optimism and happiness be correlated. And second, can type of university correlated to the two constructs.
“The field of positive psychology, at the subjective level, is about positive subjective experience: well being and satisfaction (past); flow, joy, the sensual pleasures, and happiness (present); and constructive cognitions about the future – optimism, hope, and faith” (Alansari & Kazem, 2008, p.503). The variables that are the subject of this study namely are part of this branch of psychology. Both of the constructs are commonly equated to each other (Segerstrom, 2006, p.8). To avoid confusion the need to define both constructs is evident.
A definition of optimism, optimists, and their characteristic:
“Optimism can be defined as an inclination to anticipate the best possible outcome. Optimists are defined as people who tend to make the most of their life by having a positive attitude in regard to their future and accepting problems by adapting in various ways, such as active positive problem solving, redefining the situation in a positive manner,.