Gender differences in negative affect and well-being: The case for emotional intensity
Fujita, F., Diener, E., & Sandvik, E. (1991). Gender differences in negative affect and well-being: The case for emotional intensity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(3), 427-434.
Affect intensity (AI) may reconcile 2 seemingly paradoxical findings: Women report more negative affect than men but equal happiness as men. AI describes people's varying response intensity to identical and emotional stimuli. A college sample of 66 women and 34 men was assessed on both positive and negative affect using 4 measurement methods: self-report, peer report, daily report, and memory performance. A principal-components analysis revealed an affect balance component and an AI component. Multimeasure affect balance and AI scores were created, and t tests were computed that showed women to be as happy as and more intense than men. Gender accounted for less than 1% of the variance in happiness but over 13% in AI. Thus, depression findings of more negative affect in women do not conflict with well-being findings of equal happiness across gender. Generally, women's more intense positive emotions balance their higher negative affect.
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