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Pessimistic Are Best Prepared for Bad News



(p. A13) In a study published in the journal "Emotion" in February, 2016, Dr. Sweeny and colleagues at the University of California, Riverside, showed that people resort to a number of coping strategies to manage their discomfort while waiting for an outcome. Dr. Sweeny calls this "misery management."


. . .


None of these coping mechanisms worked, according to the study. They failed to reduce the participants' distress--and some even made it worse. . . .

A better way to wait, the researchers found, is when participants agonized through their waiting period, ruminating and feeling anxious and pessimistic rather than attempting to minimize their anxiety and worry. Those who did this responded more productively to bad news and more joyfully to good news than participants who suffered little during the wait. This is "waiting well."



For the full commentary, see:

Elizabeth Bernstein. "When a Little Agonizing Helps." The Wall Street Journal (Tues., May 23, 2017): A13.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date May 22, 2017, and has the title "How to Manage a Long Wait for News.")


The paper co-authored by Sweeney, and mentioned above, is:

Sweeny, Kate, Chandra A. Reynolds, Angelica Falkenstein, Sara E. Andrews, and Michael D. Dooley. "Two Definitions of Waiting Well." Emotion 16, no. 1 (Feb. 2016): 129-43.






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