The Distribution of Daily Affect Distinguishes Internalizing and Externalizing Spectra and Subfactors

Aaron S. Heller, Caitlin A. Stamatis, Nikki A. Puccetti, Kiara R. Timpano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There has been increasing recognition that classically defined psychiatric disorders cluster hierarchically. However, the degree to which this hierarchical taxonomy manifests in the distribution of one’s daily affective experience is unknown. In 462 young adults, we assessed psychiatric symptoms across internalizing and externalizing disorders and then used cell-phone-based ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to assess the distribution (mean, standard deviation, skew, kurtosis) of one’s positive and negative affect over 3–4 months. Psychiatric symptoms were modeled using a higher-order factor model that estimated internalizing and externalizing spectra as well as specific disorders. Individualized factor loadings were extracted, and path models assessed associations between spectra and syndromes, and daily affect. Internalizing and externalizing spectra displayed broad differences in the distribution of affective experiences, while within the internalizing spectrum, syndromes loading onto fear and distress subfactors were associated with distinct patterns of affective experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Affective dynamics
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Emotion
  • Hitop
  • Internalizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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