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Negative affect is a broad concept that can be summarized as feelings of emotional distress (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988); more specifically, it is a construct that is defined by the common variance between anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, guilt and shame, irritability, and other unpleasant emotions. A variety of converging evidence suggests that negative affect is largely statistically independent from positive affect (e.g., Watson, 1988), but it is also clear that there exists a dimension called pleasantness-unpleasantness that has relations to both negative and positive mood terms (e.g., happiness and sadness). Some workers (e.g., Russell & Carroll, 1999) take the existence of the bipolar pleasantness-unpleasantness factor as evidence that negative affect and positive affect form a single dimension.
Negative affect and the dispositional tendency toward negative affect (called neuroticism, negative affectivity, or negative...