Trait anxiety and trait anger measured by ecological momentary assessment and their correspondence with traditional trait questionnaires

Edmondson, Donald E.; Shaffer, Jonathan A.; Chaplin, William F.; Burg, Matthew M.; Stone, Arthur A.; Schwartz, Joseph E.

Ecological momentary assessments (EMA) of anxiety and anger/hostility were obtained every 25–30 min over two 24-h periods, separated by a median of 6 months, from 165 employees at a university in the Northeast. We used a multilevel trait-state-error structural equation model to estimate: (1) the proportion of variance in EMA anxiety and anger/hostility attributable to stable trait-like individual differences; (2) the correspondence between these trait-like components of EMA anxiety and anger/hostility and traditional questionnaire measures of each construct; and (3) the test–retest correlation between two 24-h averages obtained several months apart. After adjustment for measurement error, more than half the total variance in EMA reports of anxiety and anger/hostility is attributable to stable trait-like individual differences; however, the trait-like component of each construct is only modestly correlated with questionnaire measures of that construct. The 6-month “test–retest” correlations of latent variables representing the true 24-h EMA average anxiety and average anger are quite high (r ≥ 0.83). This study represents the longest follow-up period over which EMA-based estimates of traits have been examined. The results suggest that although the trait component (individual differences) of EMA momentary ratings of anxiety and anger is larger than the state component, traditional self-report questionnaires of trait anxiety and anger correspond only weakly with EMA-defined traits.


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Also Published In

Journal of Research in Personality

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Published Here
April 6, 2016