Relation Between Negative Affectivity and Positive Affectivity: Effects of Judged Desirability of Scale Items and Respondents' Social Desirability

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Two major measures of negative affectivity (NA) and positive affectivity (PA), developed from the theory of independent affect, are examined. It was found in Study 1 that NA and PA items tended to be judged either very undesirable or desirable when describing people in general. Study 2 revealed that there is a strong positive relation between item desirability and the probability of endorsing the item. Furthermore, the hypothesis that the NA-PA relation varies as a function of respondents' social desirability (SD) is generally supported across measures by means of subgroup comparison and moderated regression analysis. Specifically, there was a moderately strong PA-NA relation only in the group with high SD. The relation is weaker, however, in the group with low SD. Potential reasons why NA and PA are related and unrelated under different conditions are discussed.

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Journal of Personality Assessment, v. 69, issue 1, p. 183-198