Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

pp 1508-1509

Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale (PANAS)

  • Vincent TranAffiliated withUniversity of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center Email author 


Positive and negative affect schedule


The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) is one of the most widely used scales to measure mood or emotion. This brief scale is comprised of 20 items, with 10 items measuring positive affect (e.g., excited, inspired) and 10 items measuring negative affect (e.g., upset, afraid). Each item is rated on a five-point Likert Scale, ranging from 1 = Very Slightly or Not at all to 5 = Extremely, to measure the extent to which the affect has been experienced in a specified time frame. The PANAS was designed to measure affect in various contexts such as at the present moment, the past day, week, or year, or in general (on average). Thus, the scale can be used to measure state affect, dispositional or trait affect, emotional fluctuations throughout a specific period of time, or emotional responses to events.

The PANAS is based on a two-dimensional conceptual model of mood, where the full range of affective experiences are reflected along two broad dimensions of positive mood (i.e., extent to which one is experiencing a positive mood such as feelings of joy, interest, and enthusiasm) and negative mood (i.e., extent to which one is generally experiencing a negative mood such as feelings of nervousness, sadness, and irritation). Importantly, the PANAS was developed to provide a brief scale that measures positive and negative affect as separate and largely uncorrelated constructs, such that one can experience both positive and negative emotions simultaneously. Both the positive and negative affect scales have good internal consistency, with Chronbach’s alpha ≥ .84 for each scale across multiple time frames. The scales also demonstrate good convergent and discriminant validity. The two-factor structure of the PANAS has been examined extensively and appears to be robust across different populations and temporal instructions.

Other versions of the PANAS have been developed. The PANAS-X is an extended version of the PANAS that may be used when more discrete measures of specific affective experiences are necessary. The PANAS-X includes 60 items that measure not only the two higher order scales (positive affect and negative affect), but also specific affects (joviality, self-assurance, attentiveness, fear, hostility, guilt, sadness, shyness, fatigue, serenity, and surprise). The I-PANAS-SF (International-PANAS-Short Form) contains 10 items to measure positive and negative affect, and was developed to reduce redundancy or eliminate ambiguous meanings of some of the original PANAS terms. The PANAS-C is a child version of the PANAS; emotion terms were altered and instructions were simplified for use in childhood populations. Finally, the PANAS has also been translated into other languages, such as Japanese and Spanish.



Emotions:​ Positive and Negative


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© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013
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