Carnegie Mellon University

Michael Scheier

Michael Scheier

Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor Emeritus of Personality and Health Psychology, Professor Emeritus of Psychology

  • 335F Baker Hall
  • 412-268-3791

Areas of Expertise

Health Psychology, Personality Psychology, Self-Regulation


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 focus of this research is to understand 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? Is persistence always beneficial? Do some people cope better with adversity 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 tend to view these questions from the perspective of personality psychology. Specifically, I have become quite interested in examining the role that dispositional optimism, purpose in life, and adjustment abilities play in dealing with stressful life circumstances. 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)


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.

Tindle, H. A., Belnap, B. H., Houck, P. R., Mazumdar, S., Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., He, F., & Rollman, B. L. (2012).  Optimism, response to treatment of depression, and rehospitalization after coronary artery bypass graft surgery.  Psychosomatic Medicine, 74(2), 200-207.  (PMCID: PMC4056336).

Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., & Miller, G. E. (2013). Goal adjustment capacities, subjective well-being, and physical health.  Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 847-860.  Advance online publication. (PMCID: PMC4145404).

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F.  (2014). Dispositional optimism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18, 293-299.  (PMCID: PMC4061570).

Jobin, J., Wrosch, C., & Scheier, M. F. (2014).  Associations between dispositional optimism and diurnal cortisol in a community sample: When stress is perceived as higher than normal.  Health Psychology, 33, 382-391.  (PMCID: PMC 4151978).

Mens, M. G., & Scheier, M. F. (2015). The benefits of goal adjustment capacities for well-being among women with breast cancer:  Potential mechanisms of action.  Journal of Personality.  DOI.orge/10.1111/jopy.12217.  (PMCID: 26270869).

Published Scales

For those who are interested in using one or more of the scales that I have helped to develop: 

You have my permission to use any of the scales that I have helped to create for your research and/or teaching purposes.  I do not charge for the use of these scales. I only ask that you appropriately reference the scales you use in all publications.  Appropriate referencing simply involves citing in your work the paper in which the scale is described. PDF’s of relevant articles are linked below.

If you wish to use a measure for a purpose other than teaching or research, you should also contact the copyright holder.  This usually is the publisher of the journal in which the measure was published. 

Information concerning the measure you are asking about can be found in the papers linked below. Questions about reliability, validity, norms, and other aspects of psychometric properties are addressed in those papers.  The links also contain information about administration and scoring procedures for the scales. 

I do not track attempts to translate the scales into different languages, so I have no information to offer about that.  You are free to develop your own translation if you would like to do that.  Again, just be sure to cite the original scale appropriately in publications. 

Please do not ask for a manual.  There is no manual.  Read the articles linked below for the information that you need.

If questions remain, do not hesitate to contact me.  Good luck in your work.

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.