Boelen, P. A., & Bout, J. van den (2002). Positive thinking in bereavement: is it related to depression, anxiety, or grief symptomatology? Psychological Reports, 91, 857-863.


The present study sought to explore the relationship between positive thinking — operationalized as the frequency of positive automatic thoughts and dispositional optimism — and depression, anxiety, and traumatic grief symptomatology. Data were derived from 326 bereaved adults who had 3 years earlier experienced the loss of a first-degree loved one. Analysis showed that positive thinking was inversely related to measures of depression, anxiety, and traumatic grief symptomatology. However, positive thinking did not covary with anxiety and traumatic grief when shared variance was controlled. Conversely, positive thinking remained inversely related to depression, even when anxiety and traumatic grief were controlled. The findings indicate that, among bereaved individuals, low positive thinking is a cognitive feature of depression that is relatively independent of anxiety and traumatic grief symptomatology.