Negative affectivity

Negative Affect (NA) is a general dimension of subjective distress and unpleasurable engagement that subsumes a variety of aversive mood states, including anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear, and nervousness. Low negative affect is characterised by a state of calmness and serenity.

Watson and Clark (1984) defined negative affectivity as a mood-dispositional dimension that reflects pervasive individual differences in negative emotionality and self-concept.[1]

Negative affectivity represents an affective state dimension. Tellegen (1985)[2] has demonstrated that individuals differ in negative emotional reactivity. Trait negative affectivity roughly corresponds to the dominant personality factor of anxiety/neuroticism within the Big Five personality traits.[1][2] Research shows that negative affectivity relates to different classes of variables: Self-reported stress and (poor) coping,[1][3][4] health complaints, and frequency of unpleasant events.

On the basis of their extensive review of the literature, Watson and Clark concluded that people who express high negative affectivity view themselves and a variety of aspects of the world around them in generally negative terms. Negative affectivity may influence the relationships between variables in organizational research.

In the seminal work on negative affect arousal and white noise by Stanley S. Seidner, the findings from the study support the existence of a negative affect arousal mechanism through observations regarding the devaluation of speakers from other ethnic origins.[5] Negative affectivity is strongly related to life satisfaction. Individuals high in negative affect will exhibit, on average, higher levels of distress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, and tend to focus on the unpleasant aspects of themselves, the world, the future, and other people. In fact, the content similarities between these affective traits and life satisfaction have led some researchers to view both PA/NA and life satisfaction as specific indicators of the broader construct of subjective well-being.

See also


  1. ^ a b c ‏Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1984). Negative affectivity: The disposition to experience negative aversive emotional states. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 465–490.
  2. ^ a b ‏Tellegen, A. (1985). Structures of mood and personality and their relevance to assessing anxiety, with an emphasis on self-report. In A. H. Tuma & J. D. Maser (Eds.), Anxiety and the Anxiety disorders, (pp. 681-706), Hilssdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  3. ^ Tessler, R., & Mechanic, D. (1978). Psychological distress and perceived health status. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 19, 254-262.
  4. ^ Wills, T. A. (1986). Stress and coping in early adolescence: Relationships to substance use in urban school samples. Health Psychology, 5, 503-529.
  5. ^ Seidner, Stanley S. (1991), Negative Affect Arousal Reactions from Mexican and Puerto Rican Respondents, Washington, D.C.: ERIC, ISBN ED346711

Further reading

  • Beiser, M. (1974). Components and correlates of mental well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 15, 320-327
  • Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Chicago: Aldine.
  • DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: a meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197–229.
  • Jex, S. M., & Spector, P. E. (1996). The impact of negative affectivity on stressor strain relations: A replication and extension. Work and Stress, 10, 36–45.
  • Judge, T. A., Locke, E. A., Durham, C. C., & Kluger, A. N. (1998). Dispositional effects on job and life satisfaction: the role of core evaluations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 17–34.
  • Kanner, A. D., Coyne, J. C., Schaefer, C., & Lazarus, R. S. (1981 ). Comparison of two modes of stress measurement: Daily hassles and uplifts versus major life events. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 1-39.
  • Larsen, R. J., & Ketelaar, T. (1989). Extraversion, neuroticism, and susceptibility to positive and negative mood induction procedures. Personality and Individual Differences, 10, 1221–1228.
  • Stone, A. A. ( 1981). The association between perceptions of daily experiences and self- and spouse-rated mood. Journal of Research in Personality, 15, 510-522.
  • Williams, L. J., & Anderson, S. E. (1994). An alternative approach to method effects by using latent-variable models: Applications in organizational behavior research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 323–331.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • affectivity — noun The ability or tendency to experience (positive or negative) feelings, and to react to them …   Wiktionary

  • Positive affectivity — Positive Affect (PA) reflects the extent to which a person feels enthusiastic, active, and alert. High PA is a state of high energy, full concentration, and pleasurable engagement, whereas low PA is characterized by sadness, lethargy, distress,… …   Wikipedia

  • Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale — The PANAS is a scale measuring emotions (PANAS = Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale). The emotions measured can be general and also specific ones (i.e. at a cretin moment or event). Therefore, the PANAS can be used to measure emotions in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Негативная аффективность — (negative affectivity) – общая категория, обозначающая тревогу и депрессию вместе с другими, общими для них отрицательными эмоциями (страхом, печалью, чувством вины) …   Энциклопедический словарь по психологии и педагогике

  • Dispositional affect — Dispositional affect, similar to mood, is a personality trait or overall tendency to respond to situations in stable, predictable ways. This trait is expressed by the tendency to see things in positive or negative way. People with high positive… …   Wikipedia

  • Core self-evaluations — (CSE) represent a stable personality trait which encompasses an individual’s subconscious, fundamental evaluations about themselves, their own abilities and their own control. People who have high core self evaluations will think positively of… …   Wikipedia

  • Negotiation — For Wikipedia s negotiation policy, see Wikipedia:Negotiation. For other uses, see Negotiation (disambiguation). Treaty of Trianon negotiations …   Wikipedia

  • Borderline personality disorder — Classification and external resources ICD 10 F60.3 ICD 9 301.83 …   Wikipedia

  • Counterproductive work behavior — (CWB) is employee behavior that goes against the goals of an organization.[1] These behaviors can be intentional or unintentional and result from a wide range of underlying causes and motivations. It has been proposed that a person by environment …   Wikipedia

  • Type D personality — Type D personality, a concept used in the field of medical psychology, is defined as the joint tendency towards negative affectivity (e.g. worry, irritability, gloom) and social inhibition (e.g. reticence and a lack of self assurance). The letter …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.