The absence of depressive symptoms is not the presence of wellness: validation of the Clinical Positive Affect Scale

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2012 Dec;46(12):1165-72. doi: 10.1177/0004867412459810. Epub 2012 Sep 18.


Objective: Many patients with depression respond or remit with current treatments, but often experience persistent distress, in part because they perceive that they have not returned to their normal or premorbid state. Some continue to have a lack of subjective psychological well-being and positive affect following treatment. It would be useful to measure these deficits and explore whether interventions can improve them. Currently, no clinically useful scale has been developed to measure positive affect. To fill this gap, we developed the Clinical Positive Affect Scale (CPAS).

Method: The purpose of this study is to describe the development and validation of the CPAS, a 16-item self-report measurement of self-perceived affective and cognitive correlates of positive affect, in a sample of 300 college students.

Results: A principal component analysis with varimax rotation showed one major factor of positive affect, with all items revealing high loadings (≥ 0.65) on the single factor. The CPAS also demonstrated good internal consistency (α = 0.97) and strong part-whole correlations. Finally, the CPAS revealed some degree of divergent validity through moderately strong negative correlations with validated measures of depression, anxiety and drug abuse.

Conclusions: This study supports the validity of the CPAS, which may help clinicians and researchers to assess patients' current self-perceived levels of hedonic capacity and enthusiasm for life.

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms* / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms* / etiology
  • Affective Symptoms* / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder* / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder* / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report*
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult