Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Positive Affect

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2193



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 adapted for use with...

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  1. 1.
    Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education and Counseling PsychologyUniversity at Albany, SUNY Division of School PsychologyAlbanyUSA