The Role of Both Positive and Negative Affect and Loneliness in Quality of Life Side: 1 of 2
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The Role of Both Positive and Negative Affect and Loneliness in
77 Quality of Life
Luci A. Martin & Mark Vosvick
Our study examined how loneliness, positive affect and
negative affect are associated with quality of life (QOL) in a
university sample in North Texas. Participants (n=125, 75%
female) self-identified as European-American (54%), African-
American (26%), Latino(a) (9%) and other (11%), with an
average age of 20.9 (SD=4.0). Significant correlations were
identified between these scales. Four multiple regression
models predicting psychological QOL were examined
controlling for age and gender. Lower levels of loneliness and
negative affect, yet higher levels of positive affect predicted
emotional well-being. Lower levels of negative affect and
higher levels of positive affect predicted vitality. Lower levels of
loneliness and negative affect correlated with improved mental
health related role functioning. Our study suggests that
positive and negative personality characteristics plus social
functioning relate to psychological QOL.
> Physiological health is influenced by the presence and
absence of psychosocial factors such as social support
(Dunkel-Schetter, Folkman & Lazarus, 1987) and negative
affect (Buerki & Adler, 2005).
> Although sometimes conceptualized as bipolar constructs,
evidence has shown that positive and negative affect often
co-occur when an individual is under stress (Folkman &
> The presence of negative affect paired with the inability to
express those negative emotions contributes significantly to
cardiovascular disease, increased morbidity and mortality,
and decreased response to treatment (Schiffer et al., 2006).
> Positive affect appears to provide an adaptive function and
may serve as a buffer against disease and illness, and
increase adaptive coping strategies (Steptoe, Wardel,
Marmot, 2005; Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000).
> Loneliness has been associated with negative mental
health outcomes such as depression and low self-esteem
(Russel, 1996), and an inverse graded relationship exists
between the amount of social support and the onset of
adverse cardiac events (Rozanski et al., 1999).
> Researchers have shown that combined factors
demonstrate stronger pathways to health outcomes than
isolated factors (Denollet, 2005).
> It is important to understand the relationship of positive
and negative affect, as well as loneliness in health outcomes.
Loneliness and negative affect will be negatively
associated with higher QOL.
2. Positive affect will be positively associated with QOL.
3. Positive affect will contribute to a significant proportion of
the variance in QOL after controlling for age, gender,
loneliness and negative affect.
Methods and Results
A convenience sample was used to collect self-reported data using a cross-sectional, correlational design.
Participants (n = 125) were offered extra credit in exchange for participation at a
large southern university. In addition to demographic information, measures of
MOS SF-36 (SF-36; Ware &
• 36 item measure with 8 subscales
• We used 3 subscales: Emotional
Well-Being, Vitality, Mental Health
• Responses range from 1 (All of
the time) to 6 (None of the time).
Higher scores indicate optimal QOL
• Sample questions include: “Did
you feel full of pep?” and “Have you
felt calm and peaceful?”
• Internal consistency ranges from
0.76 to above 0.90
1 1 IUI II
Organization Membership I
Member Social Org.
Not a Member
Live with Someone
Positive Affect 35.6
Negative Affect 21.6
Emotional W. B.
p < .05; ** p < .01
Hierarchical Regression Analyses (n = 125)
Demographics = Entered, Block 1: Loneliness & Negative Affect = Entered, Block 2: Positive Affect = Entered
Vitality Emotional W. B. Role Limits
F (5, 119) = 20.65
R2 ^ B1 = 0.01
R2 ^ B2 = 0.29***
R2 ^ B3 = 0.17***
F (5,119) = 32.1
R2 B1 = 0.01
R2 a B2 = 0.43***
R2 >■ B3 = 0.14***
F (5, 119) = 5.8
R2 B1 = 0.00
R2 B2 = 0.19***
R2 a B3 = 0.00***
Total Adj. R2 = 0.44 Total Adj. R2 = 0.56 Total Adj. R2 = 0.16
p < .05; ** p < .01; *** p < .001
> It is not clear from our study whether positive and
negative affect act as independent traits or interact with
one another. How personality variables interact with
loneliness is not entirely clear in our sample. Path analysis
with a larger sample size may help clarify these questions.
> Our sample was not gender balanced or ethnically
diverse, which might limit generalizability; however, gender
differences were examined at the bivariate level and were
> Our study used a cross-sectional, correlational design,
which does not allow us to infer causality. Future studies
should employ longitudinal designs that allow inferences to
be made across time and situations.
> Although our data was collected using a convenience
sample of university students and our results may not
generalize to the entire population, it is important to
understand personality traits and social interactions in
college students in order to design interventions that target
young adults. m II
> Interventions designed to target these variables in
young adults may alter traits before they become stable
and exert negative effects on health.
> Future studies should examine the pathways by which
these variables exert their effects on mental and physical
> Future studies should examine these variables in a
more diverse, gender balanced group of adults.
> Please see handout.
Center for Psychosocial Health
UNIVERSITY 0F NORTH TEXAS
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Martin, Luci A. & Vosvick, Mark A. The Role of Both Positive and Negative Affect and Loneliness in Quality of Life, poster, March 26, 2008; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855965/m1/1/: accessed January 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Center for Psychosocial Health Research.