The Affective Style Questionnaire: Development and Psychometric Properties

  • Stefan G. HofmannEmail author
  • Todd B. Kashdan


Affective style is an individual difference variable that refers to tendencies for regulating emotions. The emotion research literature has consistently identified three general strategies to handle emotional reactions: some strategies are aimed at re-adjusting affect to adapt successfully to situational demands; other strategies are intended to conceal or suppress affect; and a third approach is to tolerate and accept emotions, including unwanted and aversive reactions. We conducted two studies to develop a self-report measure to assess these affective styles. In the first study (n = 434), a list of 127 items related to this construct was administered. A factor analysis supported three factors: habitual attempts to conceal or suppress affect (Concealing subscale; 8 items), a general ability to manage, adjust, and work with emotions as needed (Adjusting subscale; 7 items), and an accepting and tolerant attitude toward emotions (Tolerating subscale; 5 items). The scale showed satisfactory internal consistency. Furthermore, the respective subscales showed different patterns of relations with existing instruments measuring similar constructs. Findings were cross-validated in an independent sample (n = 495). The factor structure and results of psychometric analyses were replicated. The final 20-item Affective Style Questionnaire is a brief instrument to measure individual differences in emotion regulation.


Affect regulation Self-regulation Suppression Cognitive reappraisal Acceptance Experiential avoidance Distress tolerance 


  1. Bagby, R. M., Parker, J. D. A., & Taylor, G. J. (1994). The 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale-I. Item selection and cross-validation of the factor structure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 38, 23–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bond, F. W., Hayes, S. C., Baer, R. A., Carpenter, K. M., Orcutt, H. K., Waltz, T., & Zettle, R. D. (submitted). Preliminary psychometric properties of the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire—II: A revised measure of psychological flexibility and acceptance.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell-Sills, L., & Barlow, D. H. (2007). Incorporating emotion regulation into conceptualizations and treatments of anxiety and mood disorders. In J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 542–559). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  4. Carver, C. S. (1997). You want to measure coping but your protocol’s too long: consider the Brief COPE. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 92–100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: a theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267–283.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Davidson, R. J. (1998). Affective style and affective disorders: perspectives form affective neuroscience. Cognition and Emotion, 12, 307–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davidson, R. J. (2003). Darwin and the neural bases of emotion and affective style. Proceedings of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1000, 316–336.Google Scholar
  8. Drabant, E. M., McRae, K., Manuck, S. B., Hariri, A. R., & Gross, J. J. (2009). Individual differences in typical reappraisal use predict amygdala and prefrontal responses. Biological Psychiatry, 65, 367–373.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Ekman, P. (2003). Emotions revealed. New York: Times Books.Google Scholar
  10. Frijda, N. H. (1986). The emotions. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gratz, K. L., & Roemer, L. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: development, factor structure, and initial validation of the difficulties in emotion regulation scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26, 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (1995). Facets of emotional expressivity: three self-report factors and their correlates. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 558–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348–362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Gross, J. J., & Levenson, R. W. (1997). Hiding feelings: the acute effects of inhibiting negative and positive emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 95–103.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hayes, S. C., Luoma, J., Bond, F., Masuda, A., & Lillis, J. (2006). Acceptance and commitment therapy: model, processes, and outcomes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 1–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., Wilson, K. G., Bissett, R. T., Pistorello, J., Toarmino, D., et al. (2004). Measuring experiential avoidance: a preliminary test of a working model. The Psychological Record, 54, 553–578.Google Scholar
  17. Hayes, S. C., Wilson, K. G., Gifford, E. V., Follette, V. M., & Strosahl, K. (1996). Experiential avoidance and behavioral disorders: a functional dimensional approach to diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 1152–1168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Izard, C. E. (1992). Basic emotions, relations among emotions, and emotion-cognition relations. Psychological Review, 99, 561–565.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Lazarus, R. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York: The Guilford.Google Scholar
  21. McCracken, L. M., & Zhao-O-Brien, J. (in press). General psychological acceptance and chronic pain: there is more to accept than pain itself. European Journal of Pain. Google Scholar
  22. Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., Turk, C. L., & Fresco, D. M. (2002a). Applying an emotion regulation framework to integrative approaches to generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 85–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., Turk, C. L., & Fresco, D. M. (2002b). Commentary on Roemer and Orsillo: applying an emotion regulation framework to integrative approaches to generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 85–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Morrow, J. (1993). Effects of rumination and distraction on naturally-occurring depressed mood. Cognition and Emotion, 7, 561–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Parker, J. D. A., Taylor, G. J., & Bagby, R. M. (2003). The twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia scale-III: reliability and factorial validity in a community population. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 55, 269–275.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Rusting, C., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1998). Regulating responses to anger: effects of rumination and distraction on angry mood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 790–803.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Salovey, P., Mayer, J. D., Goldman, S., Turvey, C., & Palfai, T. (1995). Emotional attention, clarity, and repair: Exploring emotional intelligence using the Trait Meta-Mood Scale. In J. W. Pennebaker (Ed.), Emotion, disclosure, and health (pp. 125–154). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Scherer, K. R., & Ellgring, H. (2007). Multimodal expression of emotion: affect programs or componential appraisal patterns? Emotion, 7, 158–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

Personalised recommendations