Evaluating and Criticizing the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)

Evaluating and Criticizing the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)

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In the field of Psychology, more specifically health-behavioral research, there has been resounding interest in the structure and measurement of, what the psychological community refers to as, affect. Affect refers to how we, as humans, “experience emotion” and can be broken down into two dominant affective state dimensions, positive and negative affect (Hogg, Abrams, & Martin, 2010)(Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). According to Watson, Clark, & Tellegen (1988), positive affect (PA) refers to how enthusiastic and active a person is and negative affect (NA) refers to a general dimension of distress and displeasure. Tellegen (1985) claims that not only do these terms refer to affective state, but also affective trait dimensions, indicating that, “Trait PA and NA roughly correspond to the personality factors of extraversion and neuroticism,” respectively. While many PA and NA scales have been developed, however, these scales were unable to develop items for PA and NA that were statistically independent of each other. In an attempt to operationalize the orthogonal dimensions of positive and negative affect, Watson, Clark & and Tellegen (1988) developed The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (i.e. PANAS). In the following review, I will evaluate and critique the PANAS, as a measure of trait affect, focusing on the reliability and validity of scores, test content, and the manner in which it is used.
The PANAS is one of the most widely used affective measures in the field. The schedule consists of 20 items, 10 for the Positive Affect (PA) scale (e.g. interested, excited) and 10 for the Negative Affect (NA) scale (e.g. distressed, upset) (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). Each item rated by the participant is based upon a...


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...(8), 1343-1360. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00017-X
Hogg, M.A., Abrams, D., & Martin, G.N. (2010). Social Cognition and Attitudes. In Martin, G.N., Carlson, N.R., Buskist W., (Ed.), Psychology (pp 646-677). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Said, H., Badru, B. B., & Shahid, M. (2011). Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) for Testing Validity And Reliability Instrument in the Study of Education. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 5(12), 1098-1103. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
Watson, D., & Tellegen, A. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 219-235. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.98.2.219
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063-1070. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063

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