Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1121-1122

Positive Affect

  • David N. MillerAffiliated withEducation and Counseling Psychology, University at Albany, SUNY Division of School Psychology


Positive affectivity; Positive emotions


Positive affect refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness.


Positive affect is one aspect of pleasurable and positive experience. Although positive affect overlaps to a significant degree with the concept of positive emotions, they are not identical. Positive affect is more closely related to mood states whereas positive emotions involve positive feelings as well as characteristic patterns of physiological arousal, thoughts, and behaviors [1]. Positive affect is usually measured through the use of self-report scales, such as the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule [2], in which respondents are presented with words describing both positive and negative moods and asked to rate each according to the extent that it describes them. Although these scales were originally designed for adults, more recently they have been ...

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