Moods, emotions, and occupational identities
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Affect control theory uses mathematical equations to predict emotions that arise from specific interactions (consequent emotions), emotions that arise from particular role relationships (structural emotions), and emotions that arise from confirming interactions within a salient identity (characteristic emotions). Most tests of the theory to date have taken place in the laboratory or idiosyncratic field settings and most have focused on consequent emotions. This paper investigates whether occupational identities are so socially salient that they can be used as sole predictors of emotion and tests the effectiveness of affect control theory in predicting those emotions. Using the 1996 General Social Survey as empirical data, the author analyzed the correlation between the frequency of a person experiencing each of thirteen emotions and his occupational identity. To answer the second research question, the author generated characteristic emotions predictions using affect control theory simulations and compared them to reported emotional experiences among occupants of ninety-seven occupational identities. Results show that occupational identities do not make good sole predictors of moods and emotion, but affect control theory increases the precision of some of those predictions. Both occupational identities and characteristic emotions are better at predicting moods than emotions. Building on literature, the author proposes a theoretical distinction between moods and emotions in affect control theory based on these results.