The Structure and Process of Emotional Experience Following Nonmarital Relationship Dissolution: Dynamic Factor Analyses of Love, Anger, and Sadness

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Abstract

Dynamic factor analysis was used to examine the structure and process of daily emotions in a sample of young adults following a romantic breakup. Participants completed a daily diary for 4 weeks reporting on their love/longing for their ex-partner, anger, and sadness. Using a lag-1 process factor analysis model, results revealed that love/longing, sadness, and anger could be reliably distinguished as separate but correlated mood states in a trivariate model. Four emotional dynamics (amplification, reversing, persistence, and cooccurrence) were operationalized and investigated. Differences in these dynamics were observed on the basis of overall adjustment to the separation and attachment styles. Findings are discussed in terms of attachment and contemporary emotion theories, as well as the need to operationalize time-based affective processes.

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