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


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
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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