The positivity ratio and functioning under stress

Amit Shrira, Yuval Palgi, Jonathan Jacob Wolf, Yeela Haber, Orit Goldray, Einat Shacham-Shmueli, Menachem Ben-Ezra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The positivity ratio reflects the ratio of positive affect to negative affect. In two studies, the authors investigated the relationship between positivity ratio and functioning under stress. Study 1 examined gastric cancer patients (N = 123) and Study 2 explored hospital personnel exposed to missile attacks (N = 84). In both studies, there was a curvilinear relationship between positivity ratio and functioning. As the positivity ratio increased there was a steep decrease in maladaptive functioning. The decrease in maladaptive functioning leveled at around a ratio of three, from which point maladaptive functioning stayed the same, or even started to mildly ascend, till the maximum positivity ratio score. Taken together, this finding indicates that a moderate positivity ratio is sufficient for optimal functioning at the midst of stress. Implications for the role of affect in coping with stress are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalStress and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • cancer
  • negative affect
  • positive affect
  • positivity ratio
  • war


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