Investigating sources of information on affective instability
Maples, Jessica Lynn
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Affective instability is conceptualized as a stable trait associated with multiple clinical disorders and externalizing behaviors. To date, however, this trait has not received significant empirical attention as an individual construct. One explanation for the absence of a cohesive body of literature on affective instability is the lack of a “gold standard” with which to assess it. Given recent criticisms of self-reports of affective instability, informant-reports could be a cost-effective and valid way to assess this personality construct, as they have been argued to be more objective and valid than self-perception (e.g., Kolar, Funder, & Colvin, 1996). In a sample of 343 college students, the present study examined the relations among multiple measures of affective instability and related traits, compared self and informant-report on affective instability, identified the underlying components of this trait, and characterized it via its relations with personality, etiological, and outcome variables. Factor analysis suggested a two-factor structure of affective instability and the resulting factors demonstrate distinct nomological networks.