Does Independence of Affects Impact Social Functioning and Mental Health?
Individuals differ in the degree to which their experience of positive and negative emotion co-varies. That is, some people will have a stronger within-person inverse relationship between positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA), and some will display a weak or non-existent relationship between the two, or affective independence. This study uses an ecological momentary assessment approach with an undergraduate sample to explore both whether individual differences in affective independence are concurrently related to other psychological variables and whether affective independence can be used to prospectively predict mental health outcomes. Results suggest that affective independence is related to sex and trait neuroticism but is not predictive of depression or social support outcomes. Discussion focuses on fitting the sex and neuroticism findings into the existing literature as well as exploring possible flaws in our theory or study limitations which could have led to our null findings regarding our prospective research questions.