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Positive Affect (PA) reflects the extent to which a person feels enthusiastic, active, and alert. High PA is a state of high energy, full concentration, and pleasurable engagement, whereas low PA is characterized by sadness, lethargy, distress, and un-pleasurable engagement.

Watson and Clark (1984)12 defined positive affectivity as reflecting pervasive individual differences in positive emotionality and self-concept. PA represents an affective state dimension. Tellegen (1985)11 has demonstrated that individuals differ in positive emotional reactivity. Trait PA roughly corresponds to the dominant personality factors of extraversion11,12. Positive (and also negative affectivity) is generally considered to be fairly enduring trait characteristics of the individual that may influence their responses in general, and particularly their responses to questionnaires.

PA is an integral part of everyday life. PA helps to process emotional information accurately and efficiently, to solve problems, make plans and achieve in ones life. However, the broaden-and-build theory of PA4,5 suggests that PA appears to broaden people’s momentary thought - action repertoires and build their enduring personal resources.

Research shows that PA relate to different classes of variables, such as social activity and the frequency of pleasant events1,2,12,13 . PA is also strongly related to life satisfaction7. The high energy and engagement, optimism, and social interest characteristic of high-PA individuals suggest that they should be more likely to be satisfied with their life11,12. In fact, the content similarities between these affective traits and life satisfaction have led some researchers to view both PA/NA and life satisfaction as specific indicators of the broader construct of subjective well-being3.

PA may influence the relationships between variables in organizational research6,14. PA increases attentional focus and behavioral repertoire and the enhanced personal resources can be used to overcome or deal distressing situation. These resources are physical (e.g., better health), social (e.g., social support networks), intellectual and psychological (e.g., resilience, optimism and creativity). PA provides a psychological break or respite from stress, supporting continuing efforts to replenish resources depleted by stress8,9. Therefore, it is evident that PA is good for our health. Its buffering functions provide a useful antidote to the problem associated with negative emotions and ill health due to stress (Fredrickson, 2001). Likewise, happy people are better in coping. McCrae and Costa (1986)10 concluded that PA was associated with more mature coping efforts.

References

1. Beiser, M. (1974). Components and correlates of mental well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 15, 320-327.

2. Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Chicago: Aldine.

3. DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: a meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197–229.

4. Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2, 300-319.

5. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broadenand- build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, S6, 218-226.

6. Jex, S. M., & Spector, P. E. (1996). The impact of negative affectivity on stressor strain relations: A replication and extension. Work and Stress, 10, 36–45.

7. Judge, T. A., Locke, E. A., Durham, C. C., & Kluger, A. N. (1998). Dispositional effects on job and life satisfaction: the role of core evaluations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 17–34.

8. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. NY: Oxford Univ. Press.

9. Khosla, M.(2006 c).Finding benefit in adversity. Manuscript in press.

10. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1986). Personality, coping and coping effectiveness in an adult sample. Journal of Personality, S4, 385- 405.

11. Tellegen, A. (1985). Structures of mood and personality and their relevance to assessing anxiety, with an emphasis on self-report. In A. H. Tuma & J. D. Maser (Eds.), Anxiety and the Anxiety disorders, (pp. 681-706), Hilssdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

12. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1984). Negative affectivity: The disposition to experience negative aversive emotional states. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 465–490.

13. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive affect and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, S4, 1063-70

14. Williams, L. J., & Anderson, S. E. (1994). An alternative approach to method effects by using latent-variable models: Applications in organizational behavior research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 323–331.

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