Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 593–605 | Cite as

Positive Affectivity: Specificity of Its Facet Level Relations with Psychopathology

  • Kasey Stanton
  • Sara M. Stasik-O’Brien
  • Stephanie Ellickson-Larew
  • David Watson
Original Article


This study sought to explicate the strength and direction of the relations between specific facets of positive affectivity (joviality, self-assurance, attentiveness, and serenity) and a broad range of psychopathology. Internalizing, externalizing, mania, and psychoticism were assessed using both self-report and interview measures in a diverse community sample (N = 255; Mage = 45.1 years; 58.4 % African American, 33.3 % Caucasian). Our results indicated that these positive affectivity facets demonstrated distinctive patterns of relations with psychopathology and exhibited incremental predictive power beyond that explained by negative affectivity. In particular, self-assurance displayed notable positive relations with externalizing and mania, emerging as a somewhat maladaptive variant of positive affectivity. Joviality also related positively to manic symptoms. In contrast, serenity and attentiveness related negatively to such indicators and to psychopathology more generally. These data provide strong evidence that incremental information is gained by examining positive affectivity–psychopathology relations at the facet level.


Positive affect Positive emotionality Facets Psychopathology Negative affect 



We thank Lee Anna Clark, David A. Smith, Mark Godding, Haley Heibel, Ana Hernandez, Brittany Katz, Katie Kraemer, Mallory Meter, John Souter, Nadia Suzuki, and Elizabeth Yahiro for their help in the preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kasey Stanton, Sara M. Stasik-O’Brien, Stephanie Ellickson-Larew, David Watson declare that they have no conflict of interest (financial or non-financial).

Informed Consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasey Stanton
    • 1
  • Sara M. Stasik-O’Brien
    • 2
  • Stephanie Ellickson-Larew
    • 1
  • David Watson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, 118 Haggar HallUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.Knox CollegeGalesburgUSA

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