The expression of affective temperaments in daily life

Molly A. Walsh, Leslie H. Brown, Neus Barrantes-Vidal, Thomas R. Kwapil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Numerous validation studies have examined the TEMPS-A in both clinical and nonclinical samples. However, the majority of these studies utilized cross-sectional assessments in laboratory or clinical settings. The present study is the first to examine the expression of affective temperaments in daily life using experience sampling methodology (ESM). Methods: 138 participants completed the TEMPS-A and received a personalized digital assistant that signaled them eight times daily for one week to complete questionnaires that assessed affect, cognition, behavior, sense of self, and social interaction. Results: As expected, cyclothymic/irritable temperament was positively associated with negative affect, risky behavior, and restlessness, and was negatively associated with positive affect and preference to be with others in daily life. In contrast, hyperthymic temperament was associated with positive affect, fullness of thought, doing many and exciting things, grandiosity, and preference to be with others in daily life. Dysthymic temperament was modestly associated with worry, and was positively associated with trouble concentrating, fullness of thought, and a preference for social contact. Cross-level interactions indicated that cyclothymic/irritable temperament was associated with elevated stress reactivity in daily life. Limitations: ESM data collection was limited to one week. Longer assessment periods might better capture the cyclical nature of affective temperaments. Conclusions: This was the first study to examine affective temperaments in daily life. The findings offer further validation of the TEMPS-A, as well as the maladaptive nature of the cyclothymic/irritable temperament.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective temperaments
  • Experience sampling methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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