My Child Is Better Than Average: The Extension and Restriction of Unrealistic Optimism1 Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of the current study was to determine whether parents make unrealistic evaluations of children and what factors predict these evaluations. Parents of 5- and 6-year-olds rated their child's risk for various positive and negative outcomes, temperament, and health and behavior problems. Parents also completed an adult attachment measure. Parents appeared to give relatively little consideration to realistic constraints when predicting their child's future. Parents scoring higher on attachment avoidance were less optimistic that their child would attain positive outcomes and avoid negative outcomes, consistent with the view that optimism is a motivated phenomenon. Greater child internalizing behaviors also were associated with less parental optimism for positive outcomes. Findings have implications for the delivery of health messages to parents. 2006 Blackwell Publishing, Inc.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Applied Social Psychology

author list (cited authors)

  • Lench, H. C., Quas, J. A., & Edelstein, R. S.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Lench, Heather C||Quas, Jodi A||Edelstein, Robin S

publication date

  • January 2006