Afterword: The Future of the Field
By what mechanism does explanatory style influence the wide variety of outcomes discussed in this volume? The relationship between pessimism and poor physical health, for example, is not proposed to be a strictly causal one. Rather, possessing a pessimistic explanatory style is a risk factor for later ill health in just the same sense that smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer. But what are the intervening steps? How does explanatory style influence molar performance? Mental health? Endurance? Resil ience? Neurotransmitter changes? Much current research is aimed at answering these questions.