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date: 21 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Positive affectivity is a trait that reflects stable individual differences in positive emotional experience; high levels of the trait are marked by frequent feelings of cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and energy. Positive affectivity is relatively independent from negative affectivity, as these traits developed in response to different evolutionary pressures. Similar to personality traits, trait affect is structured hierarchically. Although there is not a clear consensus regarding the lower-order components of positive affectivity, we emphasize a model that includes components of joviality, self-assurance, and attentiveness. Different measures of positive affectivity are reviewed, as well as relationships to overlapping constructs such as extraversion, happiness, and subjective well-being. Positive affect is relevant to a number of important domains. For example, low levels of positive affectivity are characteristic of numerous psychological disorders (particularly depression), whereas elevated levels of the trait have been linked to mania and substance use. Current marital and job satisfaction can be predicted based on previous measurement of positive affectivity. Positive affectivity is also related to better physical health, such as increased resistance to infectious illnesses. Finally, although mean levels of positive affectivity do not appear to differ greatly across cultures, there is evidence that culture may influence cross-situational stability and perceptions of trait affect. We conclude by showing that although temperament is an important factor in determining levels of positive affectivity, individuals are still free to take action to increase their happiness in lasting ways.

Keywords: positive affectivity, extraversion, happiness, mood, subjective well-being, trait affect

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