Measuring emotional contagion as a multidimensional construct: the development and initial validation of the contagion of affective phenomena scales

Beth G. Clarkson, Christopher R.D. Wagstaff, Calum A. Arthur, Richard c. Thelwell

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We offer an alternative conceptualization of the construct of susceptibility to emotional contagion and four related studies where two separate measures were developed and initially validated. The Contagion of Affective Phenomena Scale-General (CAPS-G) is a 5-item scale that measures the general susceptibility to the contagion of affect, and the Contagion of Affective Phenomena Scale – Emotion (CAPS-E) assesses six distinct emotions. Study 1 generated items with experts. Study 2 explored and confirmed construct validity and the factorial structure of both measures using exploratory structural equation modeling. Study 3 established test–retest reliability, concurrent validity, and discriminant validity. Study 4 found predictive validity with a sample of competitive swimmers. In four separate samples, a 21-item and 6-factor first-order structure of CAPS-E provided the best model fit. We provide initial evidence that supports the use of CAPS-E and CAPS-G as reliable and valid measures of the susceptibility to contagion of affective phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalThe Journal of Social Psychology
Early online date30 Apr 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 30 Apr 2024


  • Affect
  • emotional contagion
  • measure
  • mood convergence
  • psychometric

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