What Is PANAS Schedule? PANAS Schedule In A Nutshell

The positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS) was developed by researchers from Southern Methodist University and the University of Minnesota in 1988. The PANAS schedule is the most widely and frequently used scale to assess positive and negative emotions through two scales of measure: positive affect, and negative affect.

Understanding the PANAS schedule

The schedule is comprised of two scales, with each consisting of different words that describe feelings and emotions. More specifically, the two scales measure:

  1. Positive affect – or the propensity of an individual to experience positive emotions and interact with others positively with joy, cheerfulness, or contentment. 
  2. Negative affect – where the individual experiences negative emotions that influence how they interact with others and their surroundings. These emotions may include sadness, anger, or fear.

Here, the term affect simply describes the emotions or feelings an individual experiences at any given moment and how these emotions or feelings influence behavior. 

The PANAS schedule is used as a self-reporting diagnostic tool in community and clinical contexts, with the scale itself showing the relationship between positive and negative affect according to certain personality traits. 

Since both affects exist on a scale, a person can exhibit both positive and negative emotions at the same time. For example, an individual whose colleague receives a promotion may feel happy for them but also jealous.

Completing a PANAS schedule

For each of the two scales outlined in the previous section, researchers identified 10 positive and negative affect terms strongly correlated with mood. These are listed below.

Positive affect

  1. Attentive.
  2. Active.
  3. Alert.
  4. Excited.
  5. Enthusiastic.
  6. Determined.
  7. Inspired.
  8. Proud.
  9. Interested. 
  10. Strong.

Negative affect

  1. Hostile.
  2. Irritable.
  3. Ashamed.
  4. Guilty.
  5. Distressed.
  6. Upset.
  7. Scared.
  8. Afraid.
  9. Jittery.
  10. Nervous.

Participants then use a 5-point Likert scale to evaluate the extent to which an emotion applies. 


  1. Very slightly or not at all.
  2. A little.
  3. Moderately.
  4. Quite a bit.
  5. Extremely.

In a clinical context, the client is asked to rate the degree to which they are experiencing emotions in the present moment or the past week. 

Once completed, the participants sum the scores from each of the ten positive and negative affect terms. Scores range from 10 and 50 in both cases, with lower scores representing lower levels of positive and negative affect and higher scores representing higher levels.

Subsequent interpretations of the PANAS schedule

The PANAS schedule has undergone several revisions since it was released, including:

  • PANAS-C – for clinicians who work with school-age children. This test was designed to make it simpler for children to identify different emotions. A shortened version with 10 questions instead of 29 is also available.
  • I-PANAS-SF – a short-form iteration for those with competent but non-native English speaking skills. This test has fewer ambiguities, which reduces the likelihood a question will be misinterpreted.
  • PANAS-X – a shorter and more refined version released in 1994 that can be completed in as little as ten minutes. In addition to positive and negative affect, PANAS-X incorporates other affective states such as shyness, serenity, and surprise.

Key takeaways:

  • The PANAS schedule is the most widely and frequently used scale to assess positive and negative emotions. It was developed by researchers from Southern Methodist University and the University of Minnesota in 1988.
  • The PANAS schedule measures positive and negative affect, or the moment-by-moment emotions and feelings an individual experiences which influence their behavior. Both are measured on a scale since positive and negative emotions can occur simultaneously.
  • The PANAS schedule has been adapted to multiple applications since its release. Variations of the test are now administered to children and non-native English speakers, among other uses.

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