Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Positive Affectivity

  • Katherine T. Fortenberry
  • Kate L. Jansen
  • Molly S. Clark
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_977



Positive affect can be described as the experience of a set of emotions reflecting pleasurable engagement with the environment. Positive affect reflects neither a lack of negative affect, nor the opposite of negative affect, but is a separate, independent dimension of emotion (Watson & Tellegen, 1985). It may be exhibited as either a trait-like variable, typically referred to as positive affectivity, or as a state-like variable (Watson, 2002). Research on positive affectivity has focused on associations with beneficial coping mechanisms, increased cognitive flexibility, and certain health benefits and improved outcomes.


Watson and Tellegen (1985) presented a two-factor model of mood and affect, in which high levels of positive affect reflect enthusiastic, active, and alert mood states. They contrast this to negative affect, which includes aversive mood states, such as anger, guilt, nervousness, and fear. They suggest...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine T. Fortenberry
    • 1
  • Kate L. Jansen
    • 2
  • Molly S. Clark
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family and Preventative MedicineThe University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA