Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 130–144 | Cite as

The predictive power of low-arousal positive affect

  • Maria D. McManusEmail author
  • Jason T. Siegel
  • Jeanne Nakamura
Original Paper


Relative to high-arousal positive affect (HAPA), low-arousal positive affect (LAPA) is less likely to be included in research on positive affect and emotion. To gauge the possible cost of omitting LAPA from such research, two studies were conducted assessing the unique contribution of LAPA (e.g., calm, relaxed, content) in predicting variance in measures of well-being and mental health above and beyond HAPA (e.g., alert, excited, enthusiastic). In two studies, multiple regression analyses revealed that LAPA uniquely predicted life satisfaction, depression, feeling good, mindfulness, anxiety, and stress beyond HAPA. Furthermore, the results indicated that when both LAPA and HAPA were in the regression model, LAPA significantly predicted variance in mindfulness, anxiety, and stress whereas HAPA did not. These data indicate that the inclusion of LAPA in research can improve the field’s ability to investigate the causes and effects of positive affectivity. Theoretical perspectives on different types of positive affect and practical implications for researchers are discussed.


Low-arousal positive affect High-arousal positive affect Emotion PANAS Contentment 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Department of PsychologyClaremont Graduate UniversityClaremontUSA

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