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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-40  Table of Contents     

Development of emotional stability scale

Scientist-E (DRDO), Posted as Psychologist, Selection Centre Central, Bhopal, India

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
M Chaturvedi
22 S.S.B., Selection Centre Central, S.I. Lines, Bhopal - 462 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6748.77634

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Background: Emotional stability remains the central theme in personality studies. The concept of stable emotional behavior at any level is that which reflects the fruits of normal emotional development. The study aims at development of an emotional stability scale. Materials and Methods: Based on available literature the components of emotional stability were identified and 250 items were developed, covering each component. Two-stage elimination of items was carried out, i.e. through judges' opinions and item analysis. Results: Fifty items with highest 't' values covering 5 dimensions of emotional stability viz pessimism vs. optimism, anxiety vs. calm, aggression vs. tolerance., dependence vs. autonomy., apathy vs. empathy were retained in the final scale. Reliability as checked by Cronbach's alpha was .81 and by split half method it was .79. Content validity and construct validity were checked. Norms are given in the form of cumulative percentages. Conclusion: Based on the psychometric principles a 50 item, self-administered 5 point Lickert type rating scale was developed for measurement of emotional stability.

Keywords: Anxiety, emotional stability, emotions, empathy

How to cite this article:
Chaturvedi M, Chander R. Development of emotional stability scale. Ind Psychiatry J 2010;19:37-40

How to cite this URL:
Chaturvedi M, Chander R. Development of emotional stability scale. Ind Psychiatry J [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Jul 1];19:37-40. Available from: https://www.industrialpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2010/19/1/37/77634

We find a creeping sense of emotions going out of control in society. Everyday news comes to us rife with reports of disintegration of civility and safety, an onslaught of mean spirited impulse running amok. These outbursts of emotional ineptitude, desperation and recklessness are a spreading malice prevalent and growing today and their number has revealed a quantum jump in depression and surging tide of aggression.

All emotions in essence are the impulses to act, the instant plans for handling life, that evolution has instilled in us. The very root of the word emotion is motere the Latin word which means 'to move', plus the prefix 'e' to connote 'move away' suggesting that a tendency to act exists in every emotion. In this way emotions are the primary source of human energy, aspiration and drive, activating our innermost feelings and purpose in life, and transforming them to the things we think, to the values we live by.

Emotional stability has been examined and recognized as a personality representation in human mind [1],[2],[3],[4] However, no matter the approach of natural language description based on lexical hypothesis [1],[3],[5],[6],[7] or clinical observations [8] are inductive, these approaches are short of theoretical framework on emotional stability to explain it's nature and construct. In the meanwhile, the criterion validity of the existing emotional stability measurements with regard to the prediction of behaviour has been challenged by trait theorists. [9],[10]

Li [11] developed a construct of emotional stability based on self-organizational theory. Under the paradigm of self-organizational theory, emotional stability is defined as a property to label whether or not a complex emotional system can automatically maintain its equilibrium efficiently. It was proposed to hold two dimensions- threshold of emotional response and emotional recovery from the methodology of self-organization. [11]

Threshold represents the sensitivity of emotional response, i.e., whether or not the individual experiences chaotic emotions (e.g., upset, anxiety, panic) easily. From the perspective of evolutionary aspect, affect is an indicator attracting intentions on the adaptiveness of behaviors. [12] Chaotic emotions like upset, anxiety and panic can represent that one cannot adapt to or withstand the event which aroused the chaotic emotion. Threshold will determine whether or not an emotional system is easy to be disordered. Four items were used to measure threshold of emotional response, such as, "Are you easily upset?", and "Are you easily prone to anxiety, panic?"

Recovery time describes whether a person can recover from various negative emotions quickly. The time required for emotional recovery is related to psychological resilience. Emotional recovery from negative emotions is referred to as psychological resilience and is defined as being characterized by "flexible adaptation to the changing demands of stressful experiences". Recovery time as an indicator can demonstrate the collaborative effectiveness of the emotional system.

Thorndike and Hagen [13] consider that emotional stability of a person is characterized by evenness of moods, intent, interests, optimism, cheerfulness, composure, feeling of being in good health, freedom from feeling of guilt, worry or loneliness, freedom from day dreaming, freedom from perseveration of ideas and moods.

Smithson [14] has viewed emotional stability as a multi-trait non-cognitive psychological concept. He defines emotional stability as 'a process in which personality is continuously striving for greater sense of emotional health both intra-psychically and intra-personality. Emotional stability enables the person to develop an integrated and balanced way of perceiving the problems of life. This organizational ability and structured perception helps one to develop reality-oriented thinking, judgment and evaluation ability. One develops feelings, perceptions and attitudes that help in understanding the realities of life and conditions and circumstances that create miserable situations in life. Such understanding helps one promote high ego strength.

Emotional instability or immaturity points to an individual's failure to develop the degree of independence or self-reliance that is seen in a normal adult, with consequent use of immature adjustive patterns and inability to maintain equilibrium under stresses, unlike most individuals who do not have these negative traits. Emotionally disturbed or unstable individuals represent lack of capacity to dispose off problems and irritability, needing constant help to accomplish day-to-day tasks. They also show vulnerability and stubbornness, looking at the same time for sympathy. They are conceited, quarrelsome, infantile, self-centered and demanding sort of persons.

In the light of significance of emotional stability in this age of industrialization, competition, stress and tension: and keeping in mind the concept of emotional stability as defined in the literature cited above the present study was undertaken to develop and standardize a scale to measure the emotional stability.

   Materials and Methods Top

The study was conducted in three phases. Based on the concept of emotional stability as defined in the literature, 250 items were developed covering initially the following 6 dimensions of emotional stability:

  1. Pessimism vs. Optimism
  2. Anxiety vs. Calm
  3. Aggression vs. Tolerance.
  4. Dependence vs. Autonomy.
  5. Emotions vs. Logic
  6. Apathy vs. Empathy
The items were given to the judges, who were qualified psychologists with minimum 10 years of experience in the field of personality assessment. Out of these, 90 items were such where the judges could not reach a consensus, therefore these items were eliminated and only 160 items were retained for the initial trial. Besides this, the judges felt that there was an overlapping of items in the last two subscales i.e. emotions vs. logic and apathy vs. empathy. Hence the items of these subscales were merged together and the scale had only 5 dimensions.

Pessimism vs. optimism

Pessimists are gloomy and depressed, disappointed with their existence and at odds with the world. They have low self-esteem, are introverts, have feelings of guilt, interpersonal dependency, and remain passive in social situations.

On the other hand optimists are generally cheerful and positive in their outlook. They are satisfied with themselves, find life rewarding, and are at peace with the world. They show persistence in seeking goals in spite of setbacks and obstacles, operating from the hope of success rather than fear of failure. They perceive failures as being due to manageable circumstances rather than a personal flaw.

Example: Do you seem to have more than your share of bad luck?.

Apathy vs. empathy

People who are apathetic are detached, shrewd, worldly and expedient and harbor self- interest in their dealings with other people.

Empathy is an ability to feel for other people. People who are empathic in nature consider other's feelings along with related factors in the process of making intelligent decisions. They are warmhearted, trusting, straightforward and altruistic.

Example: Does it worry you if someone is annoyed with you for a mistake, which you have actually not committed?

Dependence vs. autonomy

The dependent person lacks self-reliance, thinks of himself as a helpless pawn of fate, is pushed around by other people and events and shows a high degree of authoritarian submission (the unquestioning obedience to institutional power).

The persons high on autonomy enjoy a great deal of freedom and independence, make their own decisions, view themselves as a master of their own fate and take realistic actions to solve their own problems.

Example: Do you place your trust in supernatural powers such as God or fate to see you through safely?

Anxiety vs. calm

Anxious persons are easily upset by things that go wrong and are inclined to worry unreasonably about things that may or may not happen. Such people account for a high consumption of liquor or other narcotic agents.

People who are calm are placid, serene and resistant to irrational fears and anxieties. Because of this ability they can stay calm under pressure. They can also think clearly and stay focused.

Example: Do you often feel restless as though you want something but do not really know what?

Aggression vs. tolerance

Aggressive individuals are given to the direct or indirect expression of anger, for example, behavior such as temper tantrums, fighting, violent arguments and sarcasm, or participation in adventurous activities like mountaineering, car rallies etc. They take no nonsense from anyone and feel compelled to return fire or get back at anyone who transgresses against them.

Tolerant individuals are gentle, even tempered, with no personal conflicts and are not given to violence either direct or indirect. They efficiently manage their disruptive emotions and impulses.

Example: Do you like scenes of violence and torture in the movies?

An answer sheet was developed, wherein the subjects had 5 alternatives to answer each question i.e. 'always', 'often', 'sometimes', 'rarely' and 'never'. Since the test was a combination of both positive and negative items the scores for positive items ranged from 5 to1 and for negative items it ranged from 1 to 5.

   Results and Discussion Top

Based on stratified random sampling method, the scale was administered on 200 college students in the age range of 17 to 21 years. Item analysis was carried out by calculating the 't' values for each item using Allen's, [15] formula. The 't' values for 160 items ranged from .94 to 9.73. Out of these a total of 50 items with highest 't' values were retained for the final scale. The 't' values for the final 50 items ranged from 5.29 to 9.73.

The above mentioned scale is a 50 item self-administered 5 point rating scale comprising of 10 items from each of the abovementioned dimensions. The scale can be administered individually as well as in a group. The scores range from 5 to 1 for positive items and from 1 to 5 for negative items. Hence the minimum score on the scale can be 50 and the maximum score can be 250. Higher score indicates higher emotional stability.

Cronbach's alpha was computed as an index of internal consistency for the 50 items of the scale on a sample of 400 college students in the age range of 17 to 21 years. Alpha coefficient for the entire scale was .81. Split half reliability by Spearman Brown's formula was .79.

Content validity was seen through collective agreement among the judges as well as empirically through item analysis. Construct validity of the scale was measured in terms of inter-correlation between subscales of Emotional Stability Scale and total scale. Correlation matrix in [Table 1] reveals that the inter-correlation among various subscales ranged from .135 between aggression vs. tolerance and apathy vs. empathy to .503 between dependence vs. autonomy and pessimism vs. optimism. All the correlations were found to be significant at P<.01 and above. All the subscales showed significantly positive correlation with the total score on the test ranging from .33 (aggression vs. tolerance) to .63 (anxiety vs. calm).
Table 1: Inter-correlation between emotional stability subscales and total scale

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The norms are given in the form of cumulative percentages based on the frequency distributions of the total score. Based on the obtained frequencies as shown in [Table 2], 181 can be taken as minimum cut off score for a normal individual. In terms of mean and standard deviations the obtained mean score for 400 subjects was 187.08 with Standard Deviation (S.D. ± 12.79), which means the scores in the range of 174 to 200 can be considered as normal.
Table 2: Norms

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   Conclusion Top

A 50 item 5 point rating scale is developed based on the psychometric principles of test development to measure various dimensions of emotional stability. However further research in the area can be taken up to develop the norms for various age groups.

   References Top

1.Cattell RB. The description of personality: Basic traits resolved into clusters. J Abnorm Soc Psychol 1943;38:476-507.   Back to cited text no. 1
2.Cattel EH, Schuerger MJ. Essentials of 16 PF Assessment. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc; 2003.   Back to cited text no. 2
3.Goldberg LR. Language and individual differences: The search for universals in personality lexicons. In: Wheeler L, editor. Review of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 2. Beverly Hills: Sage; 1981. p. 141-65.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.McCrae RR, Costa PT. Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. J Pers Soc Psychol 1987;52:81-90.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Allport GW, Odbert HS. Trait-names: A psycho-lexical study. Psychol Monogr 1936;47:211-24.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Goldberg LR. The structure of phenotypic personality traits. Am Psychol 1993;48:26-34   Back to cited text no. 6
7.Goldberg LR. What the hell took so long? Donald W Fiske and the big-five factorstructure. In: Shrout PE, Fiske ST, editors. Personality, Research, Methods, and Theory. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1995.  Back to cited text no. 7
8. Eyenck HJ. Dimensions of Personality. New York: Transaction Publishers; 1998.   Back to cited text no. 8
9.Hiller NJ, Hambrick DC. Conceptualizing executive hubris: The role of (Hyper-) core self-evaluations in strategic decision-making. Strategic Management J. 2005;26:297-319.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Judge TA, Bono JE. Five-factor model of personality and transformational leadership. J Appl Psychol 2000;41:387-409.   Back to cited text no. 10
11.Li Y. Construct of emotional stability and its moderating effects between proximal organizational conflicts and individual outcomes. AOM Conference. Paper, Under revision; 2005.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Rozin P. Introduction: Evolutionary and cultural perspectives on affect. In: Davidson RJ, Scherer KR, Goldsmith HH, editors. Handbook of Affective Sciences. New York: Oxford University Press; 2003. p. 839-51.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Thorndike RL, Hagen EP. Measurement and Evaluation in Psychology and Education. New Delhi: Wiley Eastern Limited; 1979.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Smithson WB. Psychological adjustment: Current concepts and applications. New York: McGraw Hill Book Company; 1974.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Allen EL. Techniques of attitude scale construction. New York: Vakils Feffer and Simons Private Limited; 1957.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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