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Positive and negative affectivity and their relation to anxiety and depressive disorders
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (1988)
  • David Watson, University of Iowa
  • Lee A Clark
  • Greg Carey

Distinguishing between depression and anxiety has been a matter of concern and controversy for some time. Studies in normal samples have suggested, however, that assessment of two broad mood factors--Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect (PA)--may improve their differentiation. The present study extends these findings to a clinical sample. As part of an ongoing twin study, 90 inpatient probands and 60 cotwins were interviewed with the anxiety and depression sections of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS; Robins, Helzer, Croughan, & Ratcliff, 1981). Respondents also completed trait NA and PA scales. Consistent with previous research, NA was broadly correlated with symptoms and diagnoses of both anxiety and depression, and acted as a general predictor of psychiatric disorder. In contrast, PA was consistently related (negatively) only to symptoms and diagnoses of depression, indicating that the loss of pleasurable engagement is a distinctive feature of depression. The results suggest that strenghtening the PA component in depression measures may enhance their discriminative power. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

  • positive vs negative emotions,
  • differentiation of depressive vs anxiety disorders,
  • psychiatric inpatients & their cotwins
Publication Date
August, 1988
Citation Information
David Watson, Lee A Clark and Greg Carey. "Positive and negative affectivity and their relation to anxiety and depressive disorders" Journal of Abnormal Psychology Vol. 97 Iss. 3 (1988)
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