Empirical exploration of the circumplex model and subjective well-being on employees



The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the circumplex model of emotions and its relatedness with work attitudes (i.e., work engagement, job satisfaction, burnout, and workaholism). Positive affects relate to specific attitudes that enhance individuals’ wellbeing (i.e., work engagement and job satisfaction) while negative emotions emerge into feelings of burnout and workaholism. The questionnaires were to a convenient sample of 178 employees. The present study approaches the proposed hypotheses as follows: first, we have conducted a principal component analysis (PCA) to determine the number of components in which affective descriptors load. Second, the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to estimate the degree of fitness of our gathered data and the 4-factor model of subjective well-being. Third, multidimensional scaling was used to map the similarity between affective descriptors as well as the circular order of affects. Last, to investigate the relatedness of affective descriptors with work attitudes, Pearson correlation has been used. Findings of our study supported the circumplex model of affects as well as their relatedness with job attitudes. Theoretical and practical contributions are also discussed.


circumplex model of affect; affective descriptors; subjective well-being; work attitudes.

Full Text:



Bakker, A. B., Albrecht, S. L., & Leiter, M. P. (2010). Key questions regarding work engagement. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20(1), 4–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2010.485352

Bakker, A. B., Albrecht, S. L., & Leiter, M. P. (2011). Work engagement: Further reflections on the state of play. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20(1), 74–88. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2010.546711

Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2008). Towards a model of work engagement. Career Development International, 13(3), 209–223. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620430810870476

Bakker, A. B., & Oerlemans, W. (2011). Subjective well-being in organizations. In K. Cameron & G. Spreitzer (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship (pp. 178–189). Oxford University Press.

Balducci, C., Cecchin, M., Fraccaroli, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2012). Exploring the relationship between workaholism and workplace aggressive behaviour: The role of job-related emotion. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(5), 629–634. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.05.004

Barrett, L. F., & Russell, J. A. (1999). The structure of current affect controversies and emerging consensus. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8(1), 10–14.

Brackett, M. A., Palomera, R., Mojsa-Kaja, J., Reyes, M. R., & Salovey, P. (2010). Emotion-regulation ability, burnout, and job satisfaction among British secondary-school teachers. Psychology in the Schools, 47(4), 406–417. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.20478

Bush, L. E. (1973). Individual differences multidimensional scaling of adjectives denoting feelings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25(1), 50–57. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0034274

Butucescu, A., & Uscătescu, L. (2013). What does the Romanian workaholic look like? A first glimpse into the links between workaholism and employee characteristics; a validation attempt of DUWAS scale. Psihologia Resurselor Umane, 11(1), 17.

Butucescu, A., Zanfirescu, Șerban A., & Iliescu, D. (2017). Construct validity of the IWP Multi-Affect Indicator scale in Romanian work environment. Psihologia Resurselor Umane, 15, 42–55. https://doi.org/10.24837/pru.2017.1.4

Cameron, K. S., & Spreitzer, G. M. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship. Oxford University Press, USA.

Clark, M. A., Michel, J. S., Stevens, G. W., Howell, J. W., & Scruggs, R. S. (2014). Workaholism, Work Engagement and Work–Home Outcomes: Exploring the Mediating Role of Positive and Negative Emotions. Stress and Health, 30(4), 287–300. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2511

Connolly, J. J., & Viswesvaran, C. (2000). The role of affectivity in job satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 29(2), 265–281. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00192-0

Dittmann, A. T. (1972). Interpersonal messages of emotion. Springer Pub. Co.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 359(1449), 1367–1377. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2004.1512

IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows. (2013). (Version 23.0) [Windows]. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

Innanen, H., Tolvanen, A., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2014). Burnout, work engagement and workaholism among highly educated employees: Profiles, antecedents and outcomes. Burnout Research, 1(1), 38–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.burn.2014.04.001

Izard, C. E. (1972). Patterns of emotions: A new analysis of anxiety and depression. Academic Press.

Izard, C. E. (1977). Human Emotions. New York, NY: Plenum Press.

Larsen, R. J., & Diener, E. (1992). Promises and problems with the circumplex model of emotion. (M. S. Clark, Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: SAGE Publications.

Mäkikangas, A., Rantanen, J., Bakker, A. B., Kinnunen, M.-L., Pulkkinen, L., & Kokko, K. (2015). The Circumplex Model of Occupational Well-being: Its Relation with Personality. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 1(3), 115–129. https://doi.org/10.17505/jpor.2015.11

Mäkikangas, A., Schaufeli, W. B., Leskinen, E., Kinnunen, U., Hyvönen, K., & Feldt, T. (2015). Long-Term Development of Employee Well-Being: A Latent Transition Approach. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 2325–2345. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9696-7

Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1981). The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 2(2), 99–113. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.4030020205

Maslach, C., Jackson, S. E., & Leiter, M. P. (1981). MBI: Maslach burnout inventory. Consulting Psychologists Press.

Maslach, C., Jackson, S. E., Leiter, M. P., Zalaquett, C. P., & Wood, R. J. (1997). Evaluating stress: A book of resources (Vol. 3). USA: Scarecrow.

Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 397–422. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.397

Neufeld, R. W. (1975). A multidimensional scaling analysis of schizophrenics’ and normals’ perceptions of verbal similarity. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 84(5), 498–507. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0077122

Neufeld, R. W. (1976). Simultaneous processing of multiple stimulus dimensions among paranoid and nonparanoid schizophrenics. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 11(4), 425–441. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327906mbr1104_4

Nowlis, V. (1965). Research with the Mood Adjective Check List. In S. Tompkins & C. E. Izard (Eds.), Affect, cognition, and personality: Empirical studies (p. 464). Oxford, England: Springer.

Olson, D. H. (2000). Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 144–167. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6427.00144

Ouweneel, E., Le Blanc, P. M., Schaufeli, W. B., & van Wijhe, C. I. (2012). Good morning, good day: A diary study on positive emotions, hope, and work engagement. Human Relations, 65(9), 1129–1154. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726711429382

Parker, S. K., & Griffin, M. A. (2011). Understanding active psychological states: Embedding engagement in a wider nomological net and closer attention to performance. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20(1), 60–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2010.532869

Plutchik, R. (1980). Emotion: A psychoevolutionary synthesis. Harpercollins College Division.

Plutchik, R. (1991). The emotions. University Press of America.

R Core Team. (2016). R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing (Version 3.3.1). Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Retrieved from https://www.R-project.org/

Remington, N. A., Fabrigar, L. R., & Visser, P. S. (2000). Reexamining the circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(2), 286–300.

Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(6), 1161–1178. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0077714

Russell, J. A. (2003). Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion. Psychological Review, 110(1), 145.

Russell, J. A., & Carroll, J. M. (1999). On the bipolarity of positive and negative affect. Psychological Bulletin, 125(1), 3–30.

Salanova, M., Del Líbano, M., Llorens, S., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2014). Engaged, workaholic, burned-out or just 9-to-5? Toward a typology of employee well-being. Stress and Health, 30(1), 71–81. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2499

Schaufeli, W. B. (2013). What is engagement? In C. Truss, R. Alfes, A. Delbridge, A. Shantz, & E. Soane (Eds.), Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.

Schaufeli, W. B., Bakker, A. B., & Salanova, M. (2006). The measurement of work engagement with a short questionnaire: A cross-national study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 66(4), 701–716. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164405282471

Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P., Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1996). The MBI-General Survey. In C. Maslach, S. E. Jackson, & M. P. Leiter (Eds.), Maslach Burnout Inventory. Manual (3rd ed., pp. 19–26). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Schaufeli, W. B., Shimazu, A., & Taris, T. W. (2009). Being driven to work excessively hard: The evaluation of a two-factor measure of workaholism in the Netherlands and Japan. Cross-Cultural Research, 43(3), 320–348. https://doi.org/10.1177/1069397109337239

Schaufeli, W. B., Van Wijhe, C., Peeters, M., & Taris, T. (2011). Werkverslaving, een begrip gemeten. Gedrag & Organisatie, 24(1), 43–63.

Schlosberg, H. (1952). The description of facial expressions in terms of two dimensions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 44(4), 229–237. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0055778

Scholsberg, H. (1941). A scale for the judgment of facial expressions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29(6), 497–510. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0061489

Spector, P. (1997). Job Satisfaction: Application, Assessment, Causes, and Consequences. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Tellegen, A., Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1999). On the dimensional and hierarchical structure of affect. Psychological Science, 10(4), 297–303.

Thayer, R. E. (1967). Measurement of Activation through Self-Report. Psychological Reports, 20(2), 663–678. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1967.20.2.663

Tracey, T. J. (2000). Analysis of circumplex models. In H. E. A. Tinsley & S. D. Brown (Eds.), Handbook of applied multivariate statistics and mathematical modeling (pp. 641–664).

Van Katwyk, P. T., Fox, S., Spector, P. E., & Kelloway, E. K. (2000). Using the Job-Related Affective Well-Being Scale (JAWS) to investigate affective responses to work stressors. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(2), 219–230.

Vîrgă, D., Zaborilă, C., Sulea, C., & Maricuțoiu, L. (2009). Adaptation for Romanian language of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale: Examination of validity and fidelity. Psychology of Human Resources, 7, 58–74.

Vodanovich, S. J., Piotrowski, C., & Wallace, J. C. (2007). The relationship between workaholism and health: A report of negative findings. Organization Development Journal, 25(1), 70–75.

Warr, P. (1987). Work, unemployment, and mental health. Oxford University Press.

Warr, P. (1990). The measurement of well-being and other aspects of mental health. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 63(3), 193–210. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8325.1990.tb00521.x

Warr, P., Bindl, U., Parker, S. K., & Inceoglu, I. (2014). Four-quadrant investigation of job-related affects and behaviours. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23(3), 342–363. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2012.744449

Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1999). The PANAS-X: Manual for the positive and negative affect schedule-expanded form. Ames: The University of Iowa.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063.

Watson, D., & Tellegen, A. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 219–235.

Xu, S., Martinez, L. R., Van Hoof, H., Eljuri, M. I., & Arciniegas, L. (2016). Fluctuating emotions: relating emotional variability and job satisfaction: Fluctuating emotions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 46(11), 617–626. https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12390

Yves, R. (2012). lavaan: An R package for structural equation modeling. Journal of Statistical Software, 48(2), 1–36. https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v048.i02


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Psihologia Resurselor Umane

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Asociatia de Psihologie Industriala si Organizationala
Strada Grigore Moisil, nr. 42, sector 2, București, cod poștal 023796

Creative Commons License
This work by Psihologia Resurselor Umane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at pru.apio.ro.