Stability, change, and the stability of change in daily workplace affect



Daily affect often is determined by unpredictable events, but also has predictable components. We describe how the simultaneous modeling of overall affect level, cyclical variation in affect, and the occurrence of affective events can provide a clearer understanding of how affective well-being fluctuates over time. We examined intrinsic task motivation as a positive affective event, and had an opportunity to examine a single large negative affective event as well. Specifically, data collection was interrupted by a hurricane which made landfall very close to the data collection site, disrupting the lives of employees for weeks or months. We hypothesized that affect spin—an individual difference measure of variability in the affect circumplex—would increase reactions both to positive and negative affective events. These ideas were examined with 65 employees who provided daily ratings of affect for 21 days. Positive affect was influenced by several factors, whereas negative affect was less predictable. Affect spin moderated many of the dynamic components of daily positive affect, largely supporting the notion that affect spin reflects sensitivity both to positive and negative affective events. Discussion centers on the utility of incorporating dynamic accounts of affect in the study of well-being and work. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.