Individual Difference Variables, Affective Differentiation, and the Structures of Affect

Antonio Terracciano, Robert R. McCrae, Dirk Hagemann, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Methodological arguments are usually invoked to explain variations in the structure of affect. Using self-rated affect from Italian samples (N = 600), we show that individual difference variables related to affective differentiation can moderate the observed structure. Indices of circumplexity (Browne, 1992) and congruence coefficients to the hypothesized target were used to quantify the observed structures. Results did not support the circumplex model as a universal structure. A circular structure with axes of activation and valence was approximated only among more affectively differentiated groups: students and respondents with high scores on Openness to Feelings and measures of negative emotionality. A different structure, with unipolar Positive Affect and Negative Affect factors, was observed among adults and respondents with low Openness to Feelings and negative emotionality. The observed structure of affect will depend in part on the nature of the sample studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-704
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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