Components of Unrealistic Optimism of College Students: The Case of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Yohanan Eshel, Shaul Kimhi, Hadas Marciano, Bruria Adini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


College students are among the most strongly affected populations by the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic because of uncertainty regarding academic success, future careers, and social life during their study period. Their mental health and behavior may dramatically be impacted. The study examined an unrealistic optimism of Israeli college students in assessing the health, security, and economic risks during the pandemic, and the contributions of these perceived risks to the prediction of psychological coping responses, such as well-being, and coping suppressing response of anxiety, expressed during this pandemic. Using social networks, a questionnaire was disseminated to students during the third lockdown that was implemented in Israel because of the pandemic. Depressive and anxiety symptoms, perceived threats, resilience, well-being, hope, and morale were measured using a structured quantitative questionnaire. First, we hypothesized that the three perceived risks would be inversely rated, so perceived health risk would be rated lowest, and perceived economic risk would be rated highest. The second and third hypotheses claimed that psychological coping responses articulated along this pandemic would be predicted by all these perceived risks, as well as the observance of pandemic precaution rules. The fourth hypothesis suggested that the three investigated perceived risks will positively and significantly correlate with each other. The results generally supported the hypotheses and indicated that the unrealistic optimism process was employed quite consistently by the participating students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number763581
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • college students
  • distress symptoms
  • individual resilience
  • perceived risks
  • unrealistic optimism
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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