Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

September 1998


Published in Motivation and Emotion, 22:3 (1998), pp. 231-254 Copyright © 1998 Plenum Publishing Corporation, Division of Springer Verlag. Used by permission.


We examined the relationships among general appraisal style, attributional style, trait anxiety, coping styles, and health status (i.e., depression, hostility, and flu-like symptoms) in a study for which we also examined the validity of a trait measure of general appraisal. Participants completed personality measures at the beginning of an academic semester, and health assessments at regular intervals throughout the semester. Consistent with our predictions, after removing the influence of neuroticism and attributional style, general appraisal style led to more negative, and less positive affect 2 weeks later, and to more stressful and threatening appraisals of a life event occurring 3 months later. Multiple regression techniques showed that as predicted, after controlling for baseline health general appraisal style and attributional style predicted hostility and flu-like symptoms, and attributional style also predicted depression. These effects were mediated by trait anxiety. We discuss why both negative general appraisal and attributional styles may be risk factors for ill health.