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Attitudes and Dispositional Optimism of Animal Rights Demonstrators

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Mail-in surveys were distributed to animal activists attending the 1996 March for the Animals. Age and genderdemographic characteristics of the 209 activists who participated in the study were similar to those of the 1990 March for the Animals demonstrators. Most goals of the animal rights movement were judged to be moderately to critically important, although beliefs about their chances of being realized varied considerably. Movement tactics judged to be least effective included the liberation of laboratory animals and the harassment of researchers. Education was seen as being a particularly important instrument of future social change. Demonstrators' scores on the Life Orientation Test - a measure of dispositional optimism - were significantly greater than scores of comparison groups of college students and of patients awaiting coronary bypass surgery. There was a significant positive relationship between levels of optimism and activists' perceptions of the achievement of movement objectives.



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