Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself.
It is a source of psychological stress. The study of disappointment - its causes, impact and the degree to which individual decisions are motivated by a desire to avoid it - is a focus in the field of decision analysis, as disappointment is one of two primary emotions involved in decision-making.
Disappointment is a subjective response related to the anticipated rewards.The psychological results of disappointment vary greatly among individuals; while some recover quickly, others mire in frustration or blame or become depressed. There may be a genetic predisposition to slow recovery following disappointment. While not every person responds to disappointment by becoming depressed, depression can almost always be seen as secondary to disappointment/frustration.
Disappointment, and an inability to prepare for it, has also been hypothesized as the source of occasional immune system compromise in optimists. While optimists by and large exhibit better health, they may alternatively exhibit less immunity when under prolonged or uncontrollable stress, a phenomenon which researchers have attributed to the "disappointment effect". The "disappointment effect" posits that optimists do not utilize "emotional cushioning" to prepare for disappointment and hence are less able to deal with it when they experience it. Rather than being unable to deal with disappointment, optimists are more likely to actively tackle their problems and experience some immunity compromise as a result.
The theory exists that disappointment-avoidant cultures - (therapy) - provides false expectations of perfection in life and prevents people from achieving a healthy self-identity. It is recommended to handle disappointment through concrete steps including accepting that setbacks are normal, setting realistic goals, planning subsequent moves, thinking about positive role models, seeking support and tackling tasks by stages rather than focusing on the big picture.