Multivariate associations of ideal affect with clinical symptoms.

Prior research has indicated that ideal affect (i.e., the affective states that people value and would ideally like to experience) may be relevant to mental health outcomes. Studies to date, however, have not used comprehensive multivariate models that account for covariation among facets of ideal affect and incorporate multiple clinical outcomes. In the present studies, we used structural equation modeling to examine the multivariate effects of ideal affect on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse in 2 moderately large samples of undergraduates (N = 293 and N = 146). Exploratory results of Study 1 indicated that valuation of high arousal positive affective states was significantly associated with lower depression symptoms but higher anxiety and alcohol abuse symptoms and that valuation of high arousal negative states was specifically associated with greater anxiety symptoms. These results were shown to be structurally invariant across samples and ethnicities in Study 2, which also found that ideal—actual affect discrepancies were significantly associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety. These findings support and extend the hypothesis that ideal affect is implicated in clinical outcomes by highlighting the importance of jointly considering multiple facets of ideal and actual affect as they relate to a range of clinical syndromes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)