Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)


The scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)

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About Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)

The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE) is a brief 12-item scale, with six items devoted to positive experiences and six items designed to assess negative experiences. In addition, the scale can measure feelings such as physical pleasure, engagement, interest, pain, and boredom. The scale can serve as useful feedback for clients who undergo an intervention to increase their positive feelings. The main advantage of the SPANE is that it uses a number of general feelings such as” positive”, ”pleasant”, and ”negative”.

Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)
The scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)

This allows the SPANE to reflect the full range of emotions and feelings that a respondent might feel, both bad and good, without creating a list of hundreds of items to fully reflect the diversity of positive and negative feelings. It gives three scores. The summed positive score (SPANE-P) can range from 6 to 30, and the negative scale (SPANE-N) has the same range. The two scores can be combined by subtracting the negative score from the positive score, and the resulting SPANE-B scores can range from -24 to 24. SPANE-B shows a balance between positive and negative scores and is helpful when exploring the importance of emotions with a client.


The scale was evaluated in a sample of 689 college students from six locations. The SPANE performed well in terms of reliability and convergent validity with other measures of emotion, well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction. The three subscales had high Cronbach’s alpha and temporal stability over one month: SPANE-P .87, .62; SPANE-N, .81, .63; and SPANE-B, .89, .68.



The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience gives three scores: the overall affect balance score (SPANE-B) and the positive and negative feelings scales; the SPANE-P and SPANE-N. The latter two scale scores can vary from 6 to 30, where higher numbers represent higher positive or negative emotions. These scores indicate the individual’s tendency to feel and identify emotions in themselves.

Extroverts are more likely to score higher on both these subscales compared with introverts. The affect balance (SPANE-B) subscale is a measure of the balance between positive and negative emotions, and the resultant score can vary from -24 (unhappiest) to 24 (happiest). A respondent with a very high score of 24 reports that she or he rarely or never experiences any of the negative feelings, and very often or always has all of the positive feelings.
The mean and standard deviation (as derived by Diener et al (2009) with 689 college students) for each scale is as follows:

– SPANE-P = 22.02 (SD=3.73),
– SPANE-N = 15.36 (SD = 3.95), and
– SPANE-B = 6.69 (SD=6.88).

Raw scores and percentiles are presented for each subscale.

The scale is copyrighted but you are free to use it without permission or charge by all professionals (researchers and practitioners) as long as you give credit to the authors of the scale:

  • Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi. D., Oishi, S., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2009). New measures of well-being: Flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 39, 247-266.

Important Papers on the SPANE:

If you would like to know more about SPANE and its related research, please read the following papers, whose references are below. These papers can be found on the reprint page (at UIUC).

Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi. D., Oishi, S., & Biswas-Diener, R. (In press). New measures of well-being: Flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research.

Additional Reading:

Schimmack, U., Diener, E., & Oishi, S. (2002). Life-satisfaction is a momentary judgment and a stable personality characteristic: The use of chronically accessible and stable sources. Journal of Personality, 70, 345-385.

Schimmack, U. & Reisenzein, R. (2002). Experiencing activation: Energetic arousal and tense arousal are not mixtures of valence and activation. Emotion, 2, 412-417

Schimmack, U., & Grob, A. (2000). Dimensional models of core affect: A quantitative comparison by means of structural equation modeling. European Journal of Personality, 14, 325-345.


Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2008) Happiness: unlocking the mysteries of psychological wealth. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


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