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Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Michael Strube, Michael Merbaum, Richard Kurtz

Language

English (en)

Date of Award

8-15-1996

Degree Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

Research suggests that affective experience is best described by two independent dimensions of affect (positive and negative). I propose that individual differences in the relationship between positive and negative affect have been masked by nomothetic analyses. Participants for the following studies were undergraduate students. In Study 1, a measure to assess individual differences in the relationship between positive and negative affect (hereafter PANIM; Positive and Negative Independence Measure) was developed. Convergent and discriminant validity and test-retest reliability were assessed. Results indicated moderate test-retest reliability for the measure. However, hypothesized relationships between the PANIM and measures of affective experience failed to emerge. Study 2 examined the relation between individual differences in affect structure and the cognitive representation of affect. Participants completed the PANIM and then engaged in a emotion-adjective sorting task. Complexity indices for the sorts were calculated. Results indicated that PANIM scores reflective of affect independence were associated with higher complexity scores and the tendency to group positive and negative emotion adjectives within the same category. Study 3 examined the relation between affect structure and functional and stochastic independence of positive and negative affect. Participants completed multiple affect measures at the beginning and end of successive class sessions. Between two such measures, they were informed of their exam performance, representing a natural manipulation of relative success or failure. The PANIM predicted stochastic independence but failed to predict functional independence: Individuals with scores reflective of affect independence responded in a manner reflective of affect dependence. Study 4 examined the effect of affect structure on mood repair and mood regulation strategies. Participants engaged in a task designed to promote a negative mood and were then given a positive mood regulation opportunity. As in Study 3, individuals with PANIM scores reflective of affect independence responded in a manner reflective of affect dependence. The results of all four studies suggest that the PANIM is measuring a stable aspect of emotional experience. It is unclear, however, whether the PANIM is tapping into an individual difference in the relationship between positive and negative affect or a general level of cognitive complexity in the construal of emotion.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.7936/K72B8XFB

Comments

Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K72B8XFB

Print version available in library catalog at http://catalog.wustl.edu:80/record=b2125059~S2

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