Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)

The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE) is a brief 12-item scale asking respondents to rate how often they experience various states. For example, the measure asks about physical pleasure, engagement, interest, pain, boredom etc.

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”. 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.

The SPANE 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 balance between positive and negative scores, and is helpful when exploring the importance of emotions with a client.

Validity and Reliability

The scale’s psychometric properties were evaluated in a sample of 689 undergraduate 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 mean and standard deviation as derived from Diener et al. (2009) with for each scale was as follows:

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

Scoring and Interpretation

The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience gives three scores:

1. Overall affect balance score (SPANE-B)
2. Positive feelings (SPANE-P)
3. Negative feelings (SPANE-N)

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 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.

Percentiles are also presented for each subscale based on an undergraduate sample (Diener et al., 2009). Percentiles are useful to contextualised the scores of the respondents compared to normal responses from a healthy sample.


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 Please visit: