Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Lisa L. Scherer

Second Advisor

Wayne Harrison

Third Advisor

James M. Thomas


Job satisfaction has been one of the most extensively researched areas of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Although situational influences on job satisfaction have traditionally been the primary focus of research, staw and Ross (1985) asserted that job satisfaction may be determined as much by personal dispositions as situational factors. Specifically, they proposed that an individual's predisposition toward optimism or pessimism is a critical determinant of job satisfaction. However, subsequent empirical investigations purporting to test the influence of the trait-like predisposition of optimism/pessimism have employed measures of positive and negative affective states. This study attempted to disentangle the influence of temporary negative and positive affective states from optimistic/pessimistic predispositional traits, on levels of job satisfaction. It was predicted that a stable optimistic/pessimistic predispositional trait would be a stronger predictor of subsequent job satisfaction than temporary positive and negative affective states. Subjects were 930 employees of a large government agency in the Midwest. The results of regression analyses provided evidence that positive affect was a better predictor of job satisfaction than optimism. Negative affect did not contribute to levels of job satisfaction.

Included in

Psychology Commons