Comparing static and dynamic measures of affect intensity and affective lability: do they measure the same thing?

Abstract

This was the first study to our knowledge to examine whether dispositional scales of affect intensity and affective lability map on to corresponding momentary affective dynamics. Specifically, we assessed whether the Affect Intensity Measure (AIM) and Affective Lability Scale (ALS) are differentially associated with mean, variability, and instability of negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA). Young adults (n = 135) completed the AIM, ALS, and 7 days of experience sampling assessments. Higher scores on the AIM were associated with variability and instability of NA and PA whereas the ALS was associated with mean levels of NA and PA. Neither the AIM nor the ALS were associated with reactivity to stressful, negative, or positive experiences in the moment. The AIM and ALS accounted for little variance in momentary affective dynamics and effects were generally small. Findings highlighted that static measures of dynamic phenomena poorly map onto momentary measures of affect in daily life. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.

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Fig. 1

Data availability

Data will be made publicly available via Open Science Framework and can be accessed via the following https://osf.io/d2vnm/?view_only=1ab9c970649b48668d4aadb2af4a8d3d.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge Christopher G. Mayne for contributing scripts to synthesize study data.

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Correspondence to Sarah H. Sperry.

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Sperry, S.H., Kwapil, T.R. Comparing static and dynamic measures of affect intensity and affective lability: do they measure the same thing?. Motiv Emot (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-020-09840-8

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Keywords

  • Affective lability
  • Affect intensity
  • Experience sampling methodology
  • Affective dynamics