A retrospective survey of undergraduates (N = 199) was used to examine the potential mediating impact that current levels of optimism have on the relationship between a difficult family environment during high school and current levels of distress. The mediating impact of optimism was studied in individuals from both intact and divorced families. As hypothesized, current levels of optimism partially mediated the relationship between an individual's family environment during high school and his or her current level of distress for individuals from intact families. Contrary to the hypothesis, however, optimism did not serve as a mediator for individuals from divorced homes. Possible explanations for this discrepancy are presented. Finally, clinical and research implications of these findings are discussed.
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