Affect, Stress, and Personality

Authored by: Jerry Suls

Handbook of Affect and Social Cognition

Print publication date:  November  2000
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805832174
eBook ISBN: 9781410606181
Adobe ISBN: 9781135670061


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The general consensus among emotion researchers is that mood is a function of both top-down and bottom-up influences (e.g., David, Green, Martin, & Suls, 1997; Feist, Bodner, Jacobs, Miles, & Tan, 1995). Situational factors, such as the occurrence of major and minor events, comprise a critical element of the bottom-up influence. Negative events tend to produce increases in negative affect, whereas positive events are associated with positive affect. There are also top-down influences, which include personality dispositions to experience certain forms of affect, and which also predispose people to interpret and cope with life events in particular ways (Diener, Smith, & Fujita, 1995). In this chapter, I review relevant evidence concerning individual differences in response to life stressors using contemporary personality theory as a framework. As I describe, certain dispositions make people more emotionally reactive to stressors, partly because of the interactive roles of affect and cognition.

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