Positive and Negative Affect Schedule

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The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a self-report questionnaire that consists of two 10-item scales to measure both positive and negative affect. Each item is rated on a 5-point scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). The measure has been used mainly as a research tool in group studies, but can be utilized within clinical and non-clinical populations as well.[1] Shortened, elongated, and children's versions of the PANAS have been developed, taking approximately 5–10 minutes to complete.[2] Clinical and non-clinical studies have found the PANAS to be a reliable and valid instrument in the assessment of positive and negative affect.[3]

Development and history[edit]

The PANAS was developed in 1988 by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Southern Methodist University. Previous mood measures have shown correlations of variable strength between positive and negative affect, and these same measures have questionable reliability and validity. Watson, Clark, and Tellegen developed the PANAS in an attempt to provide a better, purer measure of each of these dimensions.

The researchers extracted 60 terms from the factor analyses of Michael Zevon and Tellegen[4] shown to be relatively accurate markers of either positive or negative affect, but not both. They chose terms that met a strong correlation to one corresponding dimension but exhibited a weak correlation to the other. Through multiple rounds of elimination and preliminary analyses with a test population, the researchers arrived at 10 terms for each of the two scales, as follows:

Positive affect Negative affect
Attentive Hostile
Active Irritable
Alert Ashamed
Excited Guilty
Enthusiastic Distressed
Determined Upset
Inspired Scared
Proud Afraid
Interested Jittery
Strong Nervous



The PANAS for Children (PANAS-C) was developed in an attempt to differentiate the affective expressions of anxiety and depression in children. The tripartite model on which this measure is based suggests that high levels of negative affect is present in those with anxiety and depression, but high levels of positive affect is not shared between the two. Previous mood scales for children have been shown to reliably capture the former relationship but not the latter; the PANAS-C was created as a tool with better discriminant validity for child assessment. Similar to the development of the original PANAS, the PANAS-C drew from terms of the PANAS-X and eliminated several terms with insufficient correlations between the term and the affective construct after preliminary analyses with a non-clinical sample of children. The final version of the measure consists of 27 items: 12 positive affect terms and 15 negative affect terms. Despite the purpose of its development, however, the measure’s discriminant validity is still wanting.[5]


The PANAS-SF, comprises 10 items that were determined through the highest factor loadings on the exploratory factor analysis reported by Watson et al. (1988) in his original PANAS. Previous mood scales, such that of Bradburn, had low reliabilities and high correlations between subscales. Watson was able to address these concerns in his study of the original PANAS; however, his participants consisted mostly of student populations. The purpose of the PANAS-SF was not only to provide a shorter and more concise form of the PANAS, but to be able to apply the schedules to older clinical populations. Overall, it was reported that this modified model was consistent with Watson’s.[2]


Separate from the PANAS-SF, Edmund Thompson created the international PANAS short form (I-PANAS-SF) in order to make a 10 item mood scale that can be implemented effectively on an international level, provide more clarity on the content of the items, reduce ambiguities, address the limitations of the original and the previous short form of the PANAS, and also to provide a shorter, yet dependable and valid scale. To determine the 10 items of the 20 original items, two focus groups were utilized to evaluate all of the original 20 PANAS items. They found that while some items were easily understood by the participant, certains items had different meanings or were too ambiguous. Items that had too much ambiguity were eliminated from the modified form. Researchers found that the I-PANAS-SF had high correlations with the original PANAS. Through multiple tests and studies, they were able to determine that the I-PANAS-SF was on par with the original scale and can be used as a reliable, valid, brief, and efficient instrument on an international scale.[6]


In 1994, Watson and Clark developed an expanded form of the PANAS, called the PANAS-X, that consists of 60 items that can be completed in 10 minutes or less. The PANAS-X incorporates the original, higher order dimensions specified in the PANAS in addition to the measures of 11 lower order emotional states. These measures are broken down into three main categories: basic negative emotion scales consisting of fear, hostility, guilt, and sadness; basic positive emotion scales consisting of joviality, self-assurance, and attentiveness; and other affective states consisting of shyness, fatigue, serenity, and surprise. Through extensive analyses, all eleven affective states, with the exception of surprise, were shown to be stable, valid measures that assess how an individual’s emotional states fluctuate over time.[7]


Reliability refers to whether the scores are reproducible. Unless otherwise specified, the reliability scores and values come from studies done with a United States population sample.

Evaluation of norms and reliability for the Positive and Negative Affect Scale and Negative Affect Scale[8]
Criterion Rating (adequate, good, excellent, too good*) Explanation with references
Norms TBD The original study gathered norms of positive affect (M = 35.0, SD = 6.4) and negative affect (M = 18.1, SD = 5.9) from a non-clinical undergraduate sample.[3] Norms from a large-scale clinical sample have not been reported.
Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha, split half, etc.) Adequate The original study found an average Cronbach's alpha of 0.88 for the positive affect items and 0.87 for the negative affect items and showed that these values for each construct remained relatively consistent when reporting affect across time frames up to a year.[1][3]
Inter-rater reliability TBD Not enough research has been conducted on inter-rater reliability to give a comprehensive rating.
Test-retest reliability Adequate The original study found an average coefficient of 0.68 for positive affect and 0.71 for negative affect for an 8-week test-retest period when reporting affect across time frames up to a year.[3]
Test-repeatability TBD Like inter-rater reliability, limited research is available on test-repeatability.


Evaluation of validity and utility for the Positive and Negative Affect Scale[8]
Criterion Rating (adequate, good, excellent, too good*) Explanation with references
Content validity Adequate Watson et al. selected the PANAS items from a list of 60 terms, eliminating those that had a factor loading of under 0.40 for each construct and a secondary factor loading of higher than 0.25 for the other construct.[3] This careful factor analysis suggests that each included item is closely related to either positive or negative affect but not both.
Construct validity (e.g., predictive, concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity) Adequate The negative affect sub-scale of the PANAS strongly correlated with scores from measures related to depression and distress, including the Beck Depression Inventory, from a sample of college students.[3]
Discriminant validity TBD The original study found that the average correlation between positive and negative affect in two non-clinical samples when reporting affect across time spans up to a year was -0.17, suggesting that the two constructs are sufficiently different from one another.[3] The correlation was slightly larger in a clinical sample from the same study, so more research is needed.
Validity generalization Adequate The original study applied the PANAS to a non-clinical student sample, a non-clinical adult sample, and an inpatient sample, resulting in similar Cronbach's alphas of above 0.85 for both constructs in all three samples.[3] However, more research is needed, especially from a larger clinical sample.
Treatment sensitivity TBD
Clinical utility TBD Its free availability, brevity, and easy to understand item description and rating make the PANAS a suitable option to measure affect. Its strong correlations with other related measures further support its use as a screener.


Many forms of the PANAS (PANAS-C, PANAS-X, I-PANAS-SF, and among others) have shown that the PANAS has been widely employed. Recent studies have also shown that the PANAS can be administered in a large general adult population, as well as other populations.[1] However, to date, the PANAS is mostly used as a research tool in group studies, but it has the potential to be utilized in clinical work with individuals.[1] Furthermore, the PANAS has the potential to be used to evaluate mental illnesses, as shown in an experiment conducted by Dyck, Jolly, and Kramer, which demonstrated its effectiveness in distinguishing between depression and anxiety in clinical samples.[1]  


Since the PANAS is a self-report questionnaire, it can be difficult to assess people’s mood accurately, as people can overstate or understate their experience of their moods. In addition, the original PANAS had a limited sample size of college students, which concerns with wide applicability to other samples. Furthermore, some studies claim that the PANAS is too long or that its items are redundant.[6] The PANAS does not encompass higher order mood states.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Crawford, John R.; Henry, Julie D. (2004). "The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS): Construct validity, measurement properties and normative data in a large non-clinical sample" (PDF). British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 43 (3): 245–265. doi:10.1348/0144665031752934. PMID 15333231.
  2. ^ a b Kercher, Kyle (1992-06-01). "Assessing Subjective Well-Being in the Old-Old The PANAS as a Measure of Orthogonal Dimensions of Positive and Negative Affect". Research on Aging. 14 (2): 131–168. doi:10.1177/0164027592142001. ISSN 0164-0275.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Watson, David; Clark, Lee A.; Tellegen, Auke (1988). "Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 54 (6): 1063–1070. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063.
  4. ^ Zevon, Michael A.; Tellegen, Auke (1982-07-01). "The structure of mood change: An idiographic/nomothetic analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 43 (1): 111–122. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.43.1.111. ISSN 1939-1315.
  5. ^ Hughes, Alicia A.; Kendall, Philip C. (2009-01-14). "Psychometric Properties of the Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children (PANAS-C) in Children with Anxiety Disorders". Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 40 (3): 343–352. doi:10.1007/s10578-009-0130-4. ISSN 0009-398X. PMID 19142724.
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Edmund R. (2007-03-01). "Development and Validation of an Internationally Reliable Short-Form of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 38 (2): 227–242. doi:10.1177/0022022106297301. ISSN 0022-0221.
  7. ^ a b David, Watson; Anna, Clark, Lee (1999-01-01). "The PANAS-X: Manual for the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule - Expanded Form". Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences Publications. doi:10.17077/48vt-m4t2.
  8. ^ a b Table from Youngstrom et al., extending
    Hunsley, John; Mash, Eric (2008). A Guide to Assessments that Work. New York, NY: Oxford Press. pp. 1–696. ISBN 978-0195310641.

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