The relation between personality and affect intensity and dynamics: do associations differ based on arousal?

Dusti R. Jones, Joshua M. Smyth, Jennifer E. Graham-Engeland

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Personality factors (e.g., neuroticism, conscientiousness) are thought to be associated with both affect intensity and with affective variability. However, recent work has questioned the premise that personality factors are broadly associated with affective intensity and with variability in affect. Given that certain personality traits (e.g., extraversion) may only be associated with certain types of affective intensity, we explored if affective arousal measures (i.e., activated and deactivated affective states) were differentially associated with personality factors (i.e., Big-5 factors) and with affect variability in everyday life. Midlife adults (N = 121; ages 25–65, 60% female, 89% White) provided personality assessments and seven days of momentary affect assessments. Conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism were associated with mean levels of both activated and deactivated positive affect; neuroticism was further associated with mean levels of activated and deactivated negative affect. Extraversion was associated with mean levels of activated positive affect. Neuroticism and conscientiousness were associated with activated positive affect variability, and conscientiousness was associated with deactivated positive affect variability. These results suggest that neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness are more broadly associated with reports of affect and affect variability, whereas associations with extraversion and seem more limited. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6761-6769
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology

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