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PROFILE — Michael Scheier
Click to Enlarge Photo . . . Professor
Area: Social

Contact information:
Psychology office: 335F Baker Hall
Psychology phone: 412-268-3791

PMBC: Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center
Lab link:

Research Interests:

Social and personality psychologists have always had an interest in understanding human motivation -- knowing what it is that makes people work as hard as they do for the things they want. My recent research builds on my interest in human motivation and examines problems in effective self-management. The general thrust of this research is understanding what happens when people encounter difficulties in their lives trying to attain the things they want (or avoid the things they don't want). What are the variables that make some people persist in their goal-directed activities and others give up? Do some people cope better with problems in self-management than others, and if so, what determines who receives better outcomes? In thinking about these questions, my research has been drawn more and more into applied settings, especially within the health domain.

I have tended to approach this research domain from the perspective of personality psychology. Specifically, I have become quite interested in examining the role that dispositional optimism plays in dealing with adversity. Research currently underway is exploring how enduring differences in optimism impact on the coping process and reactions to major life events such as recovery from surgery for breast cancer or coronary artery bypass surgery. Other recent research explores individual differences in goal disengagement and goal re-engagement processes and tries to understand how such differences impact adjustment to chronic diseases that become progressively worse over time.

Google Scholar Profile (Click to View a Complete Publications List)


Scheier, M. F., & Bridges, M. W. (1995). Person variables and health: Personality predispositions and acute psychological states as shared determinants for disease. Psychosomatic Medicine, 57, 255-268. PDF

Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., Owens, J. F., Schulz, R., Bridges, M. W., Magovern, G. J., Jr., & Carver, C. S. (1999). Optimism and rehospitalization following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Archives of Internal Medicine 159, 829-835. PDF

Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (2001). Adapting to cancer: The importance of hope and purpose. In A. Baum and B. L. Andersen (Eds.), Psychosocial interventions for cancer (pp. 15-36). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association. PDF

Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (2003). Goals and confidence as self-regulatory elements underlying health and illness behavior. In L. D. Cameron and H. Leventhal (Eds.), The self-regulation of health and illness behaviour (pp. 17-41). London, UK: Routledge. PDF

Scheier, M. F. & Carver, C. S. (2003). Self-regulatory processes and responses to health threats: Effects of optimism on well-being. In J. Suls & K. Wallston (Eds.), Social psychological foundations of health (pp. 395-428). Oxford UK: Blackwell. PDF

Scheier, M. F., Helgeson, V. S., Schulz, R., Colvin, S., Berga, S., Bridges, M. W., Knapp, J., Gerszten, K., Pappert, W. S. (2005). Interventions to enhance physical and psychological functioning among younger women who are ending nonhormonal adjuvant treatment for early stage breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 23(19), 4298-4311. PDF

Scheier, M. F., Wrosch, C., Baum, A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Matthews, K. A., Schulz, R., & Zdaniuk, B. (2006). The Life Engagement Test: Assessing purpose in life. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 29(3), 291-298. PDF

Rasmussen, H. N., Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (2006). Self-regulation processes and health: The importance of optimism and goal adjustment. Journal of Personality 74, 1721-1747.

Wrosch, C., Miller, G. E., Scheier, M. F., & Brun de Pontet, S. (2007). Giving up on unattainable goals: Benefits for health? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 33, 251-265. PDF


COPE Scale
Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283.

Goal Adjustment Scale--(GAS)
Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., Miller, G. E., Schulz, R., & Carver, C. S. (2003). Adaptive self-regulation of unattainable goals: Goal disengagement, goal reengagement, and subjective well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1494-1508.

Life Engagement Test--(LET)
Scheier, M. F., Wrosch, C., Baum, A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Matthews, K. A., Schulz, R., & Zdaniuk, B. (2006). The Life Engagement Test: Assessing purpose in life. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 291-298.

Life Orientation Test--(LOT-R)
Scheier, M.F., Carver C.S., and Bridges, M.W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A re-evaluation of the Life Orientation Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063-1078.

Self-Consciousness Scale--(SCS-R)
Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). The Self-Consciousness Scale: A revised version for use with general populations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 15, 687-699.

Assistant to Dr. Scheier:
Ginger Placone (

Related Links:

  • Curriculum Vitae (pdf file)
  • PMBC: Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center
  • CMU Directory Information