Mood and affect

A relatively positive and stable mood and less affective volatility are generally considered to be positive assets that promote resilience, even in the face of negative life events. Both enable young people to capitalise on and build up other resources and assets that are both internal and potentially located and in their social ecology.

A young person’s mood and affect will influence the quality of social relationships and interaction as well as their motivation and ability to initiate and benefit from participation in constructive activities. Mood and affect can have an impact on the young person’s capacity to concentrate, regulation emotions and use interpersonal skills. Alternatively, severe and persistent negative mood states can have several negative developmental effects such as disrupting the formation and maintenance of stable connections with pro-social peers and adults and undermining a young person’s persist with challenging and potentially rewarding endeavors.

Trzepacz and Baker (1993) describe mood as “…a person’s predominant internal state at any one time” and affect as “…the external and dynamic manifestations of a person’s internal emotional state” (p39).

A mood is a relatively long-lasting emotional state. Moods differ from emotions in that they are less specific, less intense, and less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event. Moods generally have either a positive or negative quality. In practical terms, young people might speak of being in a good mood or a bad mood. Unlike acute, emotional feelings such as fear and surprise, moods often last for hours or days and in some cases weeks and months. A mood is an internal subjective state and consequently can only be determined through the description of a young person. Affect, on the other hand, is observable as it is a reflection of one’s emotional experience (or expectations of future experience) and is more reactive to events.