Mixed emotion experiences for self or another person in adolescence

Esther Burkitt, Dawn Watling, Frankie Cocks

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Introduction: This study examined types of reported simultaneous mixed emotion experiences for the first time in adolescence for high and low intensity emotion pairs using an Analogue Emotion Scale which affords the graphing of two opposite valence emotions over time on the same graph.
Methods: In a cross sectional design, 163 participants based in schools across the UK formed two age groups representing early and mid-adolescence (12 years, 5 months-16 years, 9 months vs. 16 years, 10 months-18 years, 8 months) across two conditions considering either their own (n=83) or another child’s (n= 80) emotional experience divided equally for high (n=80) or low (n= 83) intensity mixed emotion pairs presented in vignettes about themselves or another person. They were seen individually and completed an emotion presence interview and an Analogue Emotion Scale about the emotions experienced in the condition appropriate vignette.
Results: Participants reported mixed emotions both sequentially and simultaneously. In particular we found that children showed that others experience emotions in a more sequential manner, while they themselves would experience more emotions in a highly simultaneous way. Emotion experience was different depending on the emotion pair and age group.
Conclusions: Adolescents’ subjective mixed emotion experiences vary by intensity and patterns of simultaneity over time. Findings are discussed in relation to an evaluative space model of mixed emotion and applications of the AES with adolescent populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Early online date23 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Mixed emotion
  • adolescence
  • self
  • other

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