Investigating the within-person structure and correlates of emotional experiences in everyday life using an emotion family approach
We examined self-reported emotional experiences in three short-term intensive longitudinal studies of Mechanical Turk workers in the United States (Ns = 55; 107; 229). We used an emotion family approach based on lexical studies of emotion knowledge to investigate the within-person structure and correlates of everyday emotional experiences and began developing the Facets of Emotional Experiences in Everyday Life Scale (FEEELS). We conducted factor analyses on the within-person level using six emotion families to guide our approach (N observations = 1,375; 6,582; 11,029). We observed that responses to a range of emotion terms “in the past hour” could be summarized into 26 factors, 19 of which showed evidence of replication. Some factors included descriptors corresponding to discrete emotions (e.g., content, serene, calm, peaceful comprised a Contentment factor), and some factors included clusters of related emotions (e.g., compassionate, adoring, caring, loving comprised a Love factor). Facets of emotional experiences were associated with momentary self-views and situational characteristics. For example, Authentic Pride and Gratitude experiences were both characterized by greater momentary self-esteem. Authentic Pride was also associated with being in situations involving productivity, thinking deeply, and being with weak ties, while Gratitude was linked to acting sociably and being around close others. The assessment of facets of emotional experience expands our view of emotions and shows promise for better understanding personality dynamics in everyday life. Research is needed to examine the generalizability of our results to other samples and to further assess the FEEELS’ measurement properties in studies of daily life.