Violent Victimization and Distress: The Moderating Role of Dispositional Optimism

In the current study, the relationship between experiences with violent victimization in the past year and current level of distress was examined. In addition the role of dispositional optimism as a moderator between victimization and distress was also assessed. Participants included 240 subjects (aged 18-63 years) recruited via an online survey database. As hypothesized, subjects who reported experiencing violent victimization within the past year also reported increased current distress. Analysis also revealed a robust effect for dispositional optimism, such that participants with higher levels of dispositional optimism reported lower levels of distress regardless of level of victimization. All in all, findings support the notion that a proclivity towards thinking positively can serve to decrease psychological distress even in the face of adversity such as violent victimization.