Using Personality Profiles and Gender to Predict Affect

Chelsey L. VanDyke,
Jonathan S. Gore*,
Eastern Kentucky University

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Abstract: Despite the abundance of research examining the association between personality traits and affect, few researchers have examined personality profiles. The hypotheses tested in this study examined how gender, extraversion, and neuroticism interact to predict positive and negative affect. Participants (n = 2,542) completed personality and mood surveys online. Bivariate correlation analyses and hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted to analyze the data. Results supported previous findings about the correlation between neuroticism, extraversion, and negative and positive affect, and people who are high on extraversion and high on neuroticism experienced the most affect variability. The correlation of extraversion and positive affect was stronger among men than women. The three-way interaction between gender, extraversion, and neuroticism showed that neuroticism is most strongly related to negative affect for men who are low in extraversion. These findings are important because they show the importance of accounting for personality profiles when predicting affect.

Introduction: Emotions, moods, and affect are important in people’s daily lives. Moods are defined as emotions that last for a longer period of time (Davidson, 1984), whereas affect may be considered a trait level version of mood. In the past, researchers have typically examined personality traits as predictors of affect, but little research has examined the role of personality profiles (i.e., the interaction of personality traits) in predicting affect. The current study examines how personality profiles relate to affect. Specifically, we have three goals in this study: (a) to examine how personality profiles (the interaction of extraversion and neuroticism) predict affect; (b) to examine how gender moderates the correlation between personality and affect; and (c) to examine how gender moderates the relation between personality profiles and affect.

A lot of the variance in mood states are influenced by affect, specifically positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) (Meites, Lovallo, & Pishkin, 1980; Meyer & Shack, 1989; Watson & Tellegen, 1985). The PA dimension includes emotions such as excitement, activeness, being elated, enthusiastic, peppy, joyful, interested, confident, and alert (Watson & Clark, 1992; Watson & Tellegen, 1985). The NA dimension includes emotions such as distress, fear, jitters, nervousness, hostility, scorn, anger, sadness, guilt, contempt, and disgust (Watson & Clark, 1992; Watson & Tellegen, 1985). The likelihood of a person experiencing PA or NA depends in large part upon their personality. The two personality traits most often recognized as being associated with affect and temperament are extraversion and neuroticism.

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