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Affect measures

One common way of studying human emotion is to obtain self-reports from participants to quantify their current feelings or average feelings over a longer period of time. These are referred to as Measures of Affect or Measures of Emotion. Even though some affect measures contain variations that allow assessment of basic predispositions to experience a certain emotion, tests for such stable traits are usually considered to be personality tests.

Measures of General Affect


One frequently used measure for general affective states is the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS).[1] Participants completing the PANAS are asked to rate the extent to which they experienced each out of 20 emotions on a 5-point Likert Scale ranging from “very slightly” to “very much”. The exact instructions may vary according to the purpose of the study: Participants may be asked how they feel right now or during longer periods of time (e.g. during the past year). Half of the presented emotion words concern negative affect (distressed, upset, guilty, ashamed, hostile, irritable, nervous, jittery, scared, afraid), the other half positive affect (interested, alert, attentive, excited, enthusiastic, inspired, proud, determined, strong, active). The PANAS is usually regarded as a reliable measure for non-clinical populations.[2]


The expanded version of PANAS is called PANAS-X and includes 60 instead of 20 emotion words (items).[3] The instructions and the answer format are identical to the short PANAS. However, PANAS-X not only measures general positive and negative affect, but also four basic negative emotions (fear, hostility, guilt, and sadness), three basic positive emotions (joviality, elf-assurance, and attentiveness), and four more complex affective states (shyness, fatigue, serenity, and surprise). The internal consistency (Cronbach's coefficient alpha) for all of these scales can be regarded sufficient (with all α≥.74), that is people report that they experience all emotions that make up one of the scales with similar strength. The manual of the PANAS-X offers further extensive psychometric information.[3]


The International Positive and Negative Affect Schedule Short Form (I-PANAS-SF) is a shortened version of the PANAS, intended to only contain cross-culturally well understandable emotion words. In contrast to an earlier ad-hoc created short forms of the PANAS,[4] the I-PANAS-FX has been developed in a multi-study procedure including studies with participants from 16 countries. In the I-PANAS-SF, positive affect is measured using the words: active, alert, attentive, determined and inspired; negative affect is measured with the words: afraid, ashamed, hostile, nervous and upset.[5] The I-PANAS-SF is intended for general use in research situations where either time or space is limited, and for international use with participants whose native language is not English.


The State-Trait Emotion Measure (STEM) is a more recently constructed measure, consisting of five positive and five negative emotions including anger, anxiety, attentiveness/energy, contentment, envy, guilt/shame, joy, love, pride and sadness.[6]

Measures of Negative Affect


The State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI) is a 44-item questionnaire and is extensively utilized in research on anger. It distinguishes between the three modes of anger expression: anger-out, anger-in and anger-control. Anger-out refers to a tendency to express anger through either verbal or physical behaviors. Anger-in or suppressed anger refers to the tendency to hold one's anger on the inside without any outlet. Anger-control refers to the tendency to engage in behaviors intended to reduce overt anger expression.[7]


The Anger Rumination Scale (ARS) is a measure for the tendency to focus attention on angry moods, recall past anger experiences, and think about the causes and consequences of anger episodes. The questionnaire includes 19 items, and has four factor structure (factors named "angry afterthoughts", "thoughts of revenge", "angry memories" and "understanding of causes"). The reliability analysis yielded an internal consistency coefficient α=0.93 [8]


The Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI) is a 75-items questionnaire and consists of 7 subscales: Assault - physical violence against others; Indirect - roundabout and undirected aggression; Irritability - readiness to explode with negative affect at the slightest provocation; Negativism - oppositional behavior, usually against authority; Resentment - jealousy and hatred of others; Verbal - negative affect expressed; Guilt - feelings of having done wrong. Test-retest stability was r=0.82 for the seven hostility subscales (not including Guilt). The intercorrelations among the subscales tange from 0.58 to 0.7.[9] The more recent research identified using factor analysis only three factors: Neuroticism, General Hostility and Expression of Anger.[10]


The State-Trait Anger Scale (STAS) includes 10 items and initially constructed with two subscales: state anger (S-Anger), defined as an emotional state or condition that consists of subjective feelings of tension, annoyance, irritation, fury and rage; T-Anger - trait anger defined in terms of individual differences in the frequency that S-Anger was experienced over time. The subscales were found to be orthogonal. The internal consistency of S-Anger scale was high (r=0.93), while T-Anger scale was divided in two additional subscales - Angry Temperament, which describes the disposition to express anger and Angry Reaction, which describes anger responses. The item-remainder correlation alpha for the T-Anger/T subscale ranged from 0.84 to 0.89 and for T-Anger/R scale - from 0.70 to 0.75.[11]


The Perceived Emotional Appropriateness Rating Scale (PEARS) is a 19-item scale which taps observers’ perceptions of a target’s emotional appropriateness for a specific solution. PEARS has three dimensions: Intensity, Type Present, and Type Absent. The Intensity dimension consists of 5 items that relate to the intensity of emotion present (e.g. “The emotions shown were too extreme”). The Type Present dimension includes 4 items that reflect evaluation of the appropriateness of the specific types of emotions that were apparent (e.g. “The emotions were displayed as wrong”). The Type Absent dimension is composed of five items that relate to perceptions that key emotions are missing from the response (e.g. “Key emotions were absent from the person’s expression”). Type Absent and Type Present are positively correlated with each other, r (159)=.62, p<.001, but negatively correlated with Intensity, r (159)=-.51, p<.001 and r(159)= -.23, p < .003, respectively.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Watson, D.; Clark, L. A.; Tellegen, A. (1988). "Development and Validation of Brief Measures of Positive and Negative Affect: The PANAS Scales". Journal of personality and social psychology 54 (6). 
  2. ^ Crawford, John R.; Henry, Julie D. (2004). "The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS): Construct validity, measurement properties and normative data in a large non-clinical sample" (PDF). British Journal of Clinical Psychology 43: 245–265. 
  3. ^ a b Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1994). The PANAS-X: Manual for the positive and negative affect schedule-Expanded Form. Iowa City: University of Iowa [1]
  4. ^ Kerchner, K (1992). "Assessing subjective well-being in the old-old. The PANAS as a measure of orthogonal dimensions of positive and negative affect". Research on Aging 14: 131–168. 
  5. ^ Thompson, E.R. (2007). Development and Validation of an Internationally Reliable Short-Form of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol 38(2), 227-242.
  6. ^ Edward L. Levine and Xian Xu (2005) Development and Validation of the State Trait Emotion Measure (STEM) the 20th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, April 2005, Los Angeles
  7. ^ Spielberger, C.D., 1988. Manual for the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI). , Psychological Assessment Resources, Odessa, FL.
  8. ^ DG Sukhodolsky, A Golub, EN Cromwell (2001) Development and validation of the anger rumination scale, Personality and Individual Differences, 2001, pp. 689-700
  9. ^ Buss, A.H. & A. Durkee, (1957) An Inventory for assessing different kinds of hostility, Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 343-349
  10. ^ Russel, S.F. (1981) The factor structure of the Buss-Durkee hostility inventory, Unpublished master's thesis, University of South Florida
  11. ^ Spielberger, CD, Jacobs, G., Russel, S., & Crane, R.S. (1983) Assessment of Anger:The State-Trait Anger Scale, in: C.D. Spielberger and J.N. Butcher (eds.) Advances in Personality Assessment, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Incorporated
  12. ^ Warner, L.R. & Shields, S.A. (2009). Judgments of others’ emotional appropriateness are multidimensional. Cognition and Emotion, 23, 876-888.