Affect in Couple and Family Therapy
Name of Concept
Affect, mood, and emotion are often used interchangeably. However, important distinctions exist. Within modern psychology, affect is usually represented as one of three interconnected domains: affect, behavior, and cognition (Duncan and Barrett 2007). Some theorists believe that affect is a type of instinctual reaction to stimuli that occurs before cognition, while others believe that affective reactions happen both pre- and post-cognition. Although both emotions and moods are generally considered affective states, moods are distinguished by being more diffused, unfocused, and lasting much longer, whereas emotions are typically elicited by something and include the individual assignment meaning to that reaction (Batson et al. 1992).
Theoretical Context for Concept
Despite being one of three interconnected domains (affect, behavior, and cognition), the prominence placed on the role of affect varies by theory. Theories who view affect as central to the...
- Batson, C. D., Shaw, L. L., & Oleson, K. C. (1992). Differentiating affect, mood, and emotion: Toward functionally based conceptual distinctions. In M. S. Clark (Ed.), Emotion (pp. 294–326). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Sprenkle, D. H., Davis, S. D., & Lebow, J. L. (2009). Common factors in couple and family therapy: The overlooked foundation for effective practice. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar