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Sara Frost, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Sara Frost at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Mitchell Kusy, Committee Chair, Dr. Amy Climer, Committee Member, Dr. Carol Baron, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Mitchell Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Carol Baron, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Amy Climer, Ph.D., Committee Member


Optimism, Organizational Optimism, Optimistic Leadership, Empowered Connection, Joyful Engagement, Workplace Culture, Organisation, Positive Psychology, Regression, Principal Component Analysis, Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Mixed Methods

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A growing body of research has shown the benefits of optimism on health, socioeconomic status, and at work. This two-phase mixed-method study revised and validated an instrument to measure an employee’s personal experience with optimism in their workplace. This study also developed two additional scales to measure the degree to which individuals engage in optimistic leadership skills, and an organization’s readiness to cultivate optimism. In Phase 1, 697 responses from an online survey were analyzed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Regression analysis indicated that an employee’s personal experience of factors associated with optimism at work influenced their perception of their workplace’s readiness to cultivate optimism. Regression analysis also indicated that an individual’s personal tendency toward optimism influenced their personal experience with optimism at work. The study also validated the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey and the Life Orientation Test-Revised for this study’s sample. In Phase 2, the measures developed in Phase 1 were piloted with the 30-person office staff of a Midwestern paper manufacturing company to provide feedback on the accuracy of the scales. The findings help to advance research on optimism at work and support future studies to explore more deeply the impact of optimism at work. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Sara Frost

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-3217-7172

Sara Frost is an eternal optimist who loves helping nonprofit organizations improve their operations and make life better for both their employees and the people they serve. She currently works as the Program Operations Manager for the Life is Good Playmakers, a nonprofit dedicated to helping childcare professionals build life-changing relationships for the kids in their care. Sara has spent her career working in education-based nonprofits and with social entrepreneurs. Working for mission driven social entrepreneurs is a key priority for Sara as she sees social entrepreneurs as a vehicle for addressing the wicked problems of the world.

A recent graduate of the Doctoral program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University, Sara holds an M.S. in Human Service Administration focusing on nonprofit management and fundraising from Louisiana State University Shreveport, and an ED.S. in Special Education from Bay Path University. Sara is a perpetual student who enjoys trying new hobbies, creating art, and spending time with her family in Hudson, MA. She hopes to leave the world a little better than she found it.